• Oliver Williamson;
  • Nobel;
  • transaction costs;
  • boundary of the firm
  • D23;
  • L22;
  • L24


Oliver Williamson is the founder and chief developer of transaction-cost economics (TCE). In this brief essay, on the occasion of his Nobel Memorial Prize, I offer a partial discussion of Williamson's contributions by first summarizing some of the accomplishments of TCE-past and then sketching some of the opportunities for TCE-future. Most of the topics in both sections (TCE-past and TCE-future) start with a quotation from Williamson's early work that I think still speaks volumes today. That is, while fellow travelers and successors have acted on one set of Williamson's insights, helping to produce the accomplishments of TCE-past, another collection of Williamson's insights has gone relatively unremarked, creating some of the opportunities for TCE-future.