Rent seeking

Arye L. Hillman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The public- choice school was the originator of the view in the modern economics literature that incentives of self- interest apply in all human behavior, including personal behavior of political decision- makers and government bureaucrats, as well as individuals, groups, and corporations seeking favors from government. Rents are akin to favors or gifts; if it is known that political decision- makers and government bureaucrats are prone to exercise discretion in assigning rents, and if the privileged favors that provide the rents are contestable, it is in the self- interest of prospective beneficiaries of the rents to contest the rents. The time, effort, initiative, and resources used in contesting rents are lost to productive contribution to a society's output. A social loss is therefore incurred because of rent seeking. The focus of the rent- seeking literature has been on evaluating the magnitude of the social loss.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Elgar Companion to Public Choice, Second Edition
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781849806039
ISBN (Print)9781849802857
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Michael Reksulak, Laura Razzolini and William F. Shughart II 2013. All rights reserved.


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