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The Elgar Companion to Law and Economics, Second Edition

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

This thoroughly updated and revised edition of a popular and authoritative reference work introduces the reader to the major concepts and leading contributors in the field of law and economics. The Companion features accessible, informative and provocative entries on all the significant issues, and breaks new ground by bringing together widely dispersed yet theoretically congruent ideas.
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Chapter 57: George Joseph Stigler (1911–92)

Peter R. Senn


Peter R. Senn George Stigler’s 1982 Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to him for his seminal studies of industrial structure, the functioning of markets and the causes and effects of public regulation. He thought ‘much the most’ important contribution was his theoretical work on the economics of information (Stigler, 1986, p. 105). Gary S. Becker (b. 1930) (1993, p. 763) agreed but also felt that ‘Stigler’s main scientific contributions were to the history of economic thought and to microeconomics, with a special emphasis on industrial organization’ (ibid., p. 762). Ronald Harry Coase (b. 1910; Nobel Prize, 1991), in his sympathetic memoir, wrote that Stigler was ‘seen at his best’ in his studies of the history of economic thought (Coase, 1991, p. 472). He was also a pioneer in the development of ‘public choice economics’. In addition to his Nobel prize, Stigler received many other honours. Among them were the National Medal of Science, 1987, and the position of President of the American Economic Association, 1964, President of the Mont Pelerin Society (of which he was a founding member), 1976 and President of the History of Economics Society, 1977. He received eight honorary degrees and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1955 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1975. None of these honours was specifically related to his contributions to the subdiscipline of law and economics. There is no mention of law and economics in the 1993 issue of the Journal of Political Economy...

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