经济学人:公司理论:科斯集结令(02)

A well-defined task can easily be put out to the market, where a contractor is paid a fixed sum for doing it.

定义明确的任务可以被轻轻松松地交于市场。在那里,签约人被付给一笔固定的钱来完成这项任务。

The firm comes into its own when simple contracts of this kind will not suffice.

当这类简单的合约不够用时,公司会转向自身。

Instead, an employee agrees to follow varied and changing instructions, up to agreed limits, for a fixed salary.

为了一笔固定的薪水,雇员会转而同意听从种类繁多和不断变化的指令。

Coase had first set out his theory while working as a lecturer in Dundee, in 1932, having spent the prior academic year in America, visiting factories and businesses.

科斯是在1932在敦提做讲师时第一次提出他的理论的,之前一个学年,他是在美国渡过的,游历了许多工厂和公司。

“The nature of the firm”, his paper, did not appear for another five years, in part because he was reluctant to rush into print.

他的论文——《公司的性质》(The nature of the firm)在那之后的5年中没有出场,部分是因为他不情愿匆忙出版。

Though widely cited today, it went largely unread at first.

尽管这篇论文如今被广泛引用,最初却乏人问津。

But a second paper, “The problem of social cost”, published in 1960, by which time he had moved to America, brought him to prominence.

但是,在他已经移居美国的1960年发表的第二篇论文——《社会成本问题》(The problem of social cost)却让他名声大振。

It argued that private bargaining could resolve social problems, such as pollution, as long as property rights are well defined and transaction costs are low (they rarely are).

这篇论文指出,只要产权有明确的定义而且(很少低廉的)交易成本低廉,私下的讨价还价能够解决污染这类社会问题。

He had been asked to expound his new theory earlier that year to a sceptical audience of University of Chicago economists.

那一年的早些时候,他曾被要求向芝加哥大学经济学家中一群持怀疑态度的听众解释他的新理论。

By the end of the evening, he had won everyone around.

到那天晚上为止,他赢得了在场的每一个人。

Coase was invited to join the university's faculty in 1964; and there he remained until his death in 2013 at the age of 102.

1964年,科斯应受邀加入这所大学,并且在那里一直执教到2013年他以102岁高龄去世为止。

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