Earlier this week, perhaps the most influential economist of the last century, passed away. He was 102. He wrote right up until his death, publishing a book called How China Became Capitalist just last year.
Many excellent articles about Coase and his work have appeared this week. Lynne Kiesling has written a great blog post about him with lots of links to posts by others. A blog post by Dylan Matthews describes the top five of Coase's articles that every economics student must read. I agree with this top five list.
However while it is definitely worthwhile to read these articles, what is more amazing is the impact his ideas have had on not only other economists but public policy. The new book by Lopez and Leighton (which I reviewed a few months ago) does a fantastic job of explaining how Coase's views on telecommunications regulation (see #3 on the top five list linked to above) were a major reason spectrum markets were deregulated. And probably most law student learn about "the Coase Theorem" at some point in their studies.
There are other economists who have been highly influential in the last 100 years, but it is hard to argue that any have been more influential than Coase.