L.S.E. Essays on Cost

Edited by: Buchanan, James M. and George F. Thirlby
(1919- )
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First Pub. Date
New York: New York University Press
Pub. Date
Collected essays, various authors, 1934-1973. First published as a collection 1973 for the London School of Economics. Includes essays by Ronald H. Coase, Friedrich A. Hayek, Lionel Robbins, and more.



Beyond making the typography and general lay-out of each more or less uniform, these papers are reprinted as they first appeared in their respective books and journals.


The London School of Economics gratefully acknowledges permission to reprint copyright material from the following:


From Lord Robbins and from the Royal Economic Society for 'Remarks upon Certain Aspects of the Theory of Cost', published in the Economic Journal, March 1934.


From Professor F. A. Hayek and from the Editorial Board of Economica for 'Economics and Knowledge', published in Economica, February 1937.


From Professor Sir Ronald Edwards and from Sir Arnold Plant for 'The Rationale of Cost Accounting', published in A. Plant (ed.), Some Modern Business Problems, Longman, 1937.


From Mr G. F. Thirlby and the Editorial Board of Economica for 'The Subjective Theory of Value and Accounting "Cost"' (Economica, February 1946), for 'The Economist's Description of Business Behaviour' (Economica, May 1952), and for 'Economists' Cost Rules and Equilibrium Theory' (Economica, May 1960).


From Mr G. F. Thirlby and the Editorial Board of the South African Journal of Economics for 'The Ruler', published in that journal, Vol. 14, No 4, December 1946.


From Professor J. Wiseman and the Editorial Board of Economica for 'Uncertainty, Costs and Collective Economic Planning', published in Economica May 1953.


From Professor J. Wiseman and the Clarendon Press for 'The Theory of Public Utility Price-an Empty Box', published in Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 9. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1957.



When I originally suggested the idea for this book, I had hoped to be able to include a considerably wider range of papers with which to underline James M. Buchanan's challenge on p. 35 of his Cost and Choice, where he regrets the demise, and calls for a resurrection, of the L.S.E. opportunity-cost tradition (see p. 6 of this book). However the limitations of finance compelled a stricter selection, and, even so, the emergence of the book would not have been possible without institutional as well as personal support and encouragement. The Center for Study of Public Choice, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, has cooperated fully with the L.S.E. Publications Committee throughout the planning and production of the book, which is institutionally a joint product. For this purpose the Center itself was supported by the Earhart Foundation, whose assistance is gratefully acknowledged.


I do not adhere entirely to Buchanan's Introduction: I am not a grand designer! My own pedestrian idea of the next goal towards which economic theorists should direct their own steps is indicated in an unpublished paper called 'After Cost and Choice', namely towards the construction of a multi-entrepreneur firm together with a theory of the account.

G. F. Thirlby

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