Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello


  • Elodie BertrandEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_629


From being a symbol of the necessity for publicly financing public goods, since Coase’s 1974 article “The lighthouse in economics” the lighthouse has instead become a symbol of the private sector’s ability to provide public goods, and subsequently an archetype of a mistaken economic policy justified by “market failures.” However, recent studies in economics, law, and history have uncovered different mixes of private and public finance in the provision of lighthouse services over time, exhibiting the practical problems involved in providing public goods.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS and University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (ISJPS, UMR 8103)ParisFrance