Over at Instapundit, I’ve scheduled the following post for tomorrow morning. Here is my question. Is this kind of sliding scale bargaining an example of just regular old bargaining, or it this specifically Coasean bargaining? My interest here is not the policy at issue; I want to know whether this is Coasean bargaining to the efficient tradeoff point.
COASE BARGAINING OVER THE DEBT CEILING AND THE DEFICIT?: According to Grover Norquist, the Republicans in Congress plan to bargain with the President on a sliding scale. Writes Norquist at the Corner: “Second, and this is sheer genius, Boehner has put a sliding-scale price on debt-ceiling increases. Hey, Obama, you want to buy a debt ceiling increase of, say, $2 trillion that would take you past the next election? Fine, the going price is two trillion dollars in real spending cuts. Cannot afford that and hold your spending coaliton in place? Fine, you can buy a month of debt-ceiling relief, worth about $125 billion, for the reduced price of $125 billion in spending cuts. The price of the debt-ceiling hike is the the same amount — or more — of real spending cuts.”
I haven’t quite decided whether this is clever or too-clever by half. And I’m not quite sure if this bargaining is truly “Coase” bargaining in the fashion of the law and economics final exam my class took yesterday morning.
Update: Looking at the initial comments, let me ask this a little differently. What would you change in the facts of the situation in order to turn this into Coasean bargaining? The comments are interesting. I agree with Justin and others that what Coase wrote in the Problem of Social Cost is not exactly what the terms often refers to these days, and even beyond how the term is used in law and economics today, there’s a further “slangy” sense in which it is sometimes applied to things like – oh, recently someone wrote about Coasean bargaining with Libyan generals to defect versus getting blown up by a missile. So I mean it in a very loose sense here. But what would you change in the story and how in order to make it Coasean?