Transaction Cost and the Organization of Ownership—An Introduction

Transaction cost became a prominent consideration in discussions related to externalities and ownership arrangements during the last half-century, Demsetz is now convinced that its importance in these matters is much overstated. Demsetz explains why he thinks so in this Essay. His focus is on ownership arrangements, since this conference has met to discuss one such arrangement—the gridlock economy. With less detail, he also comments on the role claimed for transaction cost in regard to externality problems.