S. Bainbridge is well-known as (to quote his own website), the author of "one of the most widely read political and legal weblogs on the Internet."
So I suppose I should be flattered. He looks down from his Olympian heights to discuss my little "Boss Doesn't Wear Bunny Slippers" article, a light and airy confection no one could possibly mistake for an academic article.
He dismisses it as containing "nothing new." This is a rather remarkable claim. I can add some other things. It is not written in Russian! It is not a secret code leading to pirate treasure! (Garrr!)
I could go on. But why? No one THOUGHT the piece was written in Russian, or contains a secret code. And no one thought it contained anything new. It is clearly an exposition, and a simplistic one, of Coase's 1937 paper. It is "published," if you can call it that, on a web site that contains a monthly essay that is to be used for (WAIT FOR IT!) teaching basic principles to high school students, and others with no background in economics.
The good Bainbridge suggests that readers should read, instead, a piece written by...the good Bainbridge!
And, he is quite right that his article is earlier, deeper, wider-ranging, and more insightful than mine. But two thing struck me, in this regard.
1. There is nothing new in his paper, either. The theory of the firm, developed
between the 1930s and early 1970s, completely anticipates everything he says. (He is correct, let me emphasize, that his piece is much more interesting in the connections it makes. But it is NOT new.)
2. My article was "published" on a web site dedicated to illustrating basic principles. His article, written in 1997, was published....NOT! What sort of person castigates someone else for failing to cite a ten year old, UNPUBLISHED working paper? Answer: S. Bainbridge!
Now, to be fair, our Bainbridge is clearly reacting with annoyance to the (in his view) overly enthusiastic review from THE ECONOMIST. He is not primarily interested in my piece at all, and it is disingenuous of me to interpret his remarks the way I have above. He just wants FREE EXCHANGE to cite HIM, instead of me.
But why be fair?