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.
This indispensable research review analyses the key contributions to the academic literature on the subject of the political economy of trade policy. Topics covered include unilateral and multilateral trade policies, international trade agreements and administered protection. The authors present an insightful discussion of the political economy approach, the development of multilateral trade agreements, the trade and internal motives that guide unilateral trade policy and the features that characterise unilateralism.