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The purpose of this chapter is to link Ronald Coase’s methodological approach to what he ‘learned’ when he was at the London School of Economics (LSE) from Edwin Cannan and Arnold Plant. The main lesson Coase taught us and insisted upon was that economics should not be too ‘abstract’ and should not rely on a priori categories. He pleaded for more realism in economics, for a form of ‘political economy’: economists should use theory to generalise what facts tell us rather than trying to interpret facts by using a priori and abstract categories. This conception of economics is closer to the LSE of Cannan and Plant than to the Chicago of Stigler, Friedman, Becker, or Posner.


Marciano, Alain, Ronald H. Coase (1910-2013) (August 30, 2017). Available at SSRN: or