Clubs, Coase, and the role of government

James Roumasset



 As Ronald Coase and others have shown, deducing the appropriate role of the government in the economy requires a comparative institutions approach. Trying to generalize from oversimplified specifications regarding transaction costs, according to whether exclusion is possible or not, is a futile exercise. An alternative to the Ostrom matrix is to distinguish private, club, and collective consumption goods according to their technical characteristics, specifically their degree of congestabiilty. The other box of the Ostrom matrix, “common pool” resources, can also be usefully analyzed from a club perspective. Spillover goods are spatial clubs. Lastly, a version of the Coase theorem is offered, which provides the foundation of comparative institutional analysis.



Public goods, club goods, congestability, Ostrom matrix, comparative institutions

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