Transaction cost theory: past, present and future

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transaction cost theory emerged over 80 years ago yet still continues to exert an important influence on marketing thought. In this article, I examine the past, present and future of this important theory by exploring the work of three of its key scholars: Ronald Coase, Oliver Williamson and Yochai Benkler. This examination provides an overview of each scholar’s ideas, a look at their intellectual influences, and an assessment of their impact on marketing scholarship. In addition to this in-depth exploration of transaction cost theory, I also highlight the contextual nature of how theories form, develop and change over time. My hope is that this examination will enrich our understanding of this important theory and suggest how it can be applied to a new set of marketing topics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
JournalAMS Review
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Digital revolution
  • Opportunism
  • Theory development
  • Transaction cost theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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