Reviewed by Jan 05, 2021| Updated on
Coase Theorem, developed by the economist Ronald Coase, is legal and economic theory. The theory argues that parties to a property rights dispute will be able to negotiate and conclude with an economically optimal solution under the right conditions, regardless of the initial distribution of the property rights.
Further, the theory states a potentially useful way to resolve the conflict the best possible way between business competitors or the economic way of using limited resources. The theory can be applied to the fullest if the conditions of efficient, competitive markets along with the zero transaction costs are fulfilled.
The Coase Theorem is applicable in situations where the economic activities of one party impose a cost on the other party. It is also applicable when one party damages the property of another party. You can understand the applicability of the theory better by considering the following example:
Say, a pub situated in a residential area is subject to a noise complaint by the neighbouring households. According to the theorem, there can be two possible settlements. 1. The owner of the pub can offer financial compensation to the affected parties so that they allow the pub to continue producing the noise.
The Coase Theorem is seen as an argument against legislative pre-emption of conflicts over property rights and privately negotiated settlements.