Last week, the Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico–established in 1840 and one of the oldest bar associations in continuous existence in the Americas (for historical perspective, Boston’s bar association was founded in 1802; New York City’s not until in 1870)–awarded our work “Does the Prisoner’s Dilemma Refute the Coase Theorem?” an honorable mention for essay of the year. (The actual award itself is pictured below.) We co-wrote our paper last year with our friend and colleague Orlando Martinez-Garcia, and it was published in volume 47 of The John Marshall Law Review (Chicago). We are especially grateful to receive this award from the Colegio de Abogados and would be honored to present our paper in Puerto Rico in the future. In summary, after reviewing the history of the “Prisoner’s Dilemma Parable,” we modify this classic model by allowing the prisoners in the parable to bargain with each other in a low transaction cost setting, and we then define the various conditions under which the prisoners will be able to reach a mutually beneficial deal as postulated by the Coase Theorem, a very important idea from the world of economics. We think our paper is novel and useful because–along with the work of Wayne Eastman, a distinguished professor at Rutgers Business School–it is one of the few scholarly papers in the legal or economics literature to explore the intersection of the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Coase Theorem.
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