Transaction costs in the digital era
Call for papers – organized session at the STOREP 2018 conference
Genoa, 28-30 June 2018
In 1937, Ronald Coase provided law and economics literature with the powerful paradigm of transaction costs for the analysis of economic institutions (esp., market and firm). According to Coase each institution is a mode of allocation and organization of economic resources and none of the institutions (including the market) is a free lunch. Transaction costs define boundaries of the firm (and, by-product, of the market. A quite neglected part of the Coasian argument is that transaction costs depend on technology and, therefore, that technological inventions can change the boundaries between the firm and the market. Using Coase’s words:
“[c]hanges like the telephone and the telegraph, which tend to reduce the cost of organising spatially, will tend to increase the size of the firm” (Coase R.H., 1937, “The nature of the firm”, Economica, 4(16): 386-405, p. 397)
“It should be noted that most inventions will change both the cost of organising and the costs of using the price system. In such cases, whether the invention tends to make firms larger or smaller will depend on the relative effect of these two sets of costs” (id, fn. 3, p. 397)
Today, in 2018, the digital revolution is having a significant effect on such transaction costs, configuration of institutions, and our very conception of the law. The digital revolution represents an unprecedented process, on a large scale, that is reshaping rules and organizations, and may change tenets that underpin existing governance and government models.
The organized session at STOREP 2018 wants to explore on an interdisciplinary basis (esp. economics, law, political science, etc.) the meaning of transaction costs as coming from the digital era.
An incomplete list of themes is the following:
1. Corporate governance and blockchain;
2. Internet titans, big data and competition;
3. Contract law and smart contracts;
4. Public services exploiting digital technology.
Submissions of papers or long abstracts by 4th March 2018 at the email firstname.lastname@example.org