During the past 12 years, I have authored or co-authored a number of scholarly works exploring various aspects of markets and property rights using a “Coasean” lens. In addition to my 2011 paper on “Coase and the Constitution“, for example, which I blogged about recently, I have also explored or applied the logic of markets and property rights in the following contexts:
- Science fiction. Another 2011 paper of mine, Clones and the Coase theorem (co-authored with my colleague and friend Orlando Martínez-García), explores Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner from a Coasean perspective.
- Blackmail. Why not a market in secrets? Yet another 2011 paper, this one titled The problem of blackmail: a critique of Coase, “out-Coases” Coase (so to speak) and explains why blackmail is a reciprocal problem.
- The prisoner’s dilemma. My 2014 essay on the famous “prisoner’s dilemma” (also co-authored with Martínez-García) asks, What would happen if the prisoners in this dilemma were allowed to talk and bargain with each other? Would they strike a Coasean bargain?
- Vampires. Another 2014 essay of mine, Buy or bite?, which found its way into The Economics of the Undead, discusses the possibility of contracts between humans and vampires for the purchase and sale of blood.
- The trolley problem. Yet another 2014 paper, Trolley Problems, proposes a market solution to both versions of the famous “trolley problem” in moral philosophy: why not conduct an auction from behind a veil of ignorance?
- Literary fan art. My 2019 NYU paper Of Coase and copyrights explains why copyright infringement — and, more generally, disputes between “creators” and mere “copiers” — is a reciprocal problem and defends literary fan art as fair use.
- Lockdowns. My work-in-progress Lockdowns as takings, which I began writing in 2020 and significantly revised in 2021, explains why workers have a property right to their labor and why stay-at-home orders constitute a government taking of such labor rights.
- Illegal and immoral promises. My most recent work, Breaking bad promises (forthcoming), explores the problem of illegal and immoral agreements.
- Conspiracy theories. My other forthcoming work, The Gödel Conspiracy, proposes a retrodiction market to allow people to bet on their favorite conspiracy theories.
Academic trolling, or flashes of insight? Either way, I will leave it up to my loyal readers to decide which of these scholarly works are totally loony and which are perfectly lucid.