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Yoram BARZEL, economist in the field of Microeconomic Theory; Market Structure. University Fellow, Hebrew University, 1954-1955; University Fellow, University Chicago, 1957-1958; Ford Foundation Fellow, 1960-1961; Ford Faculty Fellow, 1970-1971.


BARZEL, Yoram was born in 1931 in Jerusalem.


Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts Hebrew University, 1953, 1956. Doctor of Philosophy University Chicago, 1961.


Assistant Professor, Association Professor of Economics, University Washington, 1961-1966, 1966-1970. Research Fellow, Falk Foundation, Jerusalem, Israel, 1963^4. Visiting Research Fellow, University College, London, 1970-1971.

Visiting Scholar, Hoover Institute, Institution, Stanford University, 1974-1975,1981-1982. Visiting Professor of Economics, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri, 1984. Professor of Economics, University Washington, United States of America, since 1970.


  • University Fellow, Hebrew University, 1954-1955. University Fellow, University Chicago, 1957-1958. Ford Foundation Fellow, 1960-1961.

    Ford Faculty Fellow, 1970-1971.


In the first phase of my research I concentrated on the microeconomics of technical change. My studies of the electric power industry showed that the increase in output per unit of input was largely accounted for by increases in the scale of operations. Questions of innovations induced by scale, and of ‘premature’ innovative activity in the competition to capture the returns were explored next.

Subsequent work looked at methods of public choice related to public goods. The next stage in my work, greatly influenced by Steven N. S. Cheung, is concerned with the costs of transacting and the specifications of property rights. The central idea is that because of costs such as measuring, metering and policing the terms of exchange, rights to the gains from trade in any transaction are not fully delineated.

Transactors may attempt to capture these gains, using resources in the process. However, both individually, and in their aggregate behaviour, transactors will erect institutions and impose constraints on themselves to reduce the loss from competing the gains away. My main endeavour is to explain the existence of private and government constraints such as the ‘pig in a poke’, tie-in sales, and the prohibition of price discrimination.

The work also attempts to provide a rationale for institutions such as voting in the economic sphere, the existence of consumer-owned production facilities and the prevalence of non-profit organisations. These explanations attempt to be operational: refutable implications are derived from transaction costs considerations. Many are capable of being tested by using readily available, ‘conventional’ data.