L'héritage chinois de Coase

HONG KONG – La mort récente de Ronald H. Coase, le père-fondateur de la nouvelle économie institutionnelle, est une grande perte pour les économistes chinois qui cherchent un cadre efficace pour comprendre la transformation économique actuelle de la Chine. Son héritage - ses idées sur le rôle des sociétés, sur les institutions financières et sur l'État qui modèle le marché et provoque le développement économique - va s'avérer déterminant au moment où la Chine s'efforce de devenir un pays à hauts revenus.

En deux articles fondateurs, Coase a modifié la perception des économistes quant à l'influence des institutions sur une économie. Son article de 1937 “The Nature of the Firm” a présenté le concept des coûts de transaction dans les discussions sur la structure, la fonction et les limitations d'une entreprise. Et son article de 1960 “The Problem of Social Cost” a proposé que l'État puisse contrôler les externalités négatives des activités économiques, telles que la pollution ou le trafic, par des droits de propriété correctement définis.

Dans ses dernières années, Coase s'est intéressé à l'apparition du capitalisme et à la création des marchés en Chine. Selon Coase, depuis la période de réforme et d'ouverture entamée en 1979, la Chine constitue une expérience vécue d'évolution institutionnelle, formée simultanément par le gouvernement central, par les gouvernements locaux et par les entreprises.

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