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Spring 2010
ISSN
Volume 25, Number 2

Coordination: A Critique of Daniel Klein

Robert P. Murphy, Institute for Energy Research
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise25(2),2010,117-127Coordination:ACritiqueofDanielKleinRobertP.Murphy*ConsultingbyRPMAbstractInseveralpapers,DanielKleinhasdocumentedthevariedusageofthetermcoordinationintheeconomicsliterature.Kleinhasproposedtwomeaningsoftheterm,oneofwhichcorrespondstotheHayekianusageandtheothertotheworkofThomasSchelling.However,KleinstaxonomyisunhelpfulbecausebothofhistwotypesofcoordinationapplytotheworkofbothHayekandSchelling.Iproposeamoreappropriatedistinction.JELCodes:B0,B53,C72Keywords:Hayek;Schelling;CoordinationEversinceHayeks1937classic,EconomicsandKnowledge,”Austriansandothersympatheticwritershaverightlyemphasizedstudyofthecoordinationpropertiesofaneconomicsystem.However,inthewakeofthepioneeringworkofThomasSchelling(1960),theneoclassicalmainstreamhasconstruedacoordinationgameinaverynarrowsense.InseveralpapersDanielKlein(withco-authors)hasattemptedtocategorizethedifferentusesofthetermcoordinationintheeconomicsliterature.Unfortunately,Idisagreewithhistaxonomy.InthiscommentIwillmakethecasethatKleinhasfocusedonadistinctionthatdoesnottrulydistinguishtheHayekianfromtheSchellingsenseoftheterm.Iwillthensuggestadistinctionthatmoreneatlyseparatestheworkofthetwoeconomists.I.KleinsTaxonomy:TheTwoCoordinationsInaninsightfulpaper(Klein,1997)anditsfollow-up(KleinandOrsborn,2009),DanielKleinidentifiestwodistinct(andoftenconflated)meaningsofcoordination.Unfortunately,hisdistinctionwhichisperfectlyvalidasfarasitgoescannotbeartheweightthatKleinputsonit.Inparticular,Kleiniswrongtoargue*TheauthorreceivedhelpfulcommentsonanearlydraftofthispaperfromDanielKlein,GeneCallahan,andAlexPadilla,andfinancialsupportfromtheLudwigvonMisesInstitute.117
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