The lighthouse in economics: colonial America’s experience

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  • 1 Columbus State University, , USA
  • | 2 Gettysburg College, , USA
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With the 1974 publication of his study titled ‘The lighthouse in economics’, Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase demonstrated that England’s history of lighthouse services provision includes examples of private sector involvement, dating back to 1614 and going forward to 1816. Critics argue, however, that Coase perhaps overstated the case in concluding that most lighthouse services during this period were ‘privately provided’, and instead explain that this particular industry provides an example of a mixed system of private-public partnerships. This study integrates these critiques into a Coase-type examination of the existence of ‘private-ness’ in lighthouse services provision in colonial American history. In doing so, it fills a hole in the literature that has existed since Coase’s examination of the history of lighthouse services provision in England.

  • 1 Columbus State University, , USA
  • | 2 Gettysburg College, , USA

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