How do economists decide what questions to address and how to choose their theories? How do they tackle the problems of the economic system and give advice on public policy? With these questions, Nobel laureate R.H. Coase reflects on some of the most fundamental concerns of economists over the past two centuries. In 15 essays, he evaluates the contributions of a number of figures, including Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall, Arnold Plant, Duncan Black, and George Stigler, as well as economists at the London School of Economics in the 1930s.
Preface 1: The Institutional Structure of Production 2: How Should Economists Choose? 3: Economics and Contiguous Disciplines 4: Economists and Public Policy 5: The Market for Goods and the Market for Ideas 6: The Wealth of Nations 7: Adam Smith's View of Man 8: Alfred Marshall's Mother and Father 9: Alfred Marshall's Family and Ancestry 10: The Appointment of Pigou as Marshall's Successor 11: Marshall on Method 12: Arnold Plant 13: Duncan Black 14: George J. Stigler 15: Economics at LSE in the 1930s: A Personal View Index