Table of Contents

Companion to the Political Economy of Rent Seeking

Companion to the Political Economy of Rent Seeking

Edited by Roger D. Congleton and Arye L. Hillman

The quest for benefit from existing wealth or by seeking privileged benefit through influence over policy is known as rent seeking. Much rent seeking activity involves government and political decisions and is therefore in the domain of political economy, although it can also take place in personal relations and within firms and bureaucracies. Rent seeking, which involves the unproductive use of resources, is however primarily associated with policies that create rents as well as rent extraction or political benefit for the creators of rents. The contributions in this outstanding volume provide an accompaniment or “companion” to the literature on rent seeking and the related political economy of rent creation and extraction. The chapters, written by leading scholars in the field, demonstrate the centrality of rent-related incentives to the study of economics, politics, culture, public administration and history.

Chapter 5: Asymmetries in rent seeking

Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci, Eric Langlais, Bruno Lovat and Francesco Parisi

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, public choice theory, politics and public policy, political economy, public choice

Extract

In rent-seeking contests, players are seldom identical. In this chapter, we review the rent-seeking literature that explores the effects of forms of asymmetry between contestants. We consider Tullock’s rent-seeking contests involving two players who differ in strength (marginal returns to effort), motivation (valuations of the sought-after rent) and cunning (bargaining power). The combined interaction of these three forms of asymmetry in rent seeking are described. We examine how these asymmetries affect the rent-seeking contest and investigate the effect of ex post trading opportunities on the players’ efforts and probabilities of winning and on the social costs of rent seeking.

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