Rent seeking and taxation in the Ancient Roman Empire
AbstractHistorians maintain that an increase in taxation of the peasant farmers, government corruption and misuse of its revenue by the ruling class led to a weakening of the Roman Empire that culminated in its western demise in the fifth century. But it was not just the taxation issue doomed the Roman Empire, but political change from a Republic to an emperor that exacerbated the climate of rent-seeking behaviour by the ruling classes that culminated in the misallocation of tax resources. One category of rent seeking involves the spending of money that the average taxpayer sees as foolish but that benefits a particular group. The groups who bear the costs can stop the rent seeking if they are informed. These average citizens were peasant farmers who no doubt recognized the costs but were unable to form political coalitions to protect themselves because military control of Roman legions was under the tight control of the emperor. This was not the case under the Republic. With the emperors, public funds were being diverted from the public infrastructure such as road building and repair to more frivolous activities.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.
Volume (Year): 37 (2005)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RAEC20
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Tollison, Robert D, 1982. "Rent Seeking: A Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 575-602.
- Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1975. "The economics of corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 187-203, February.
- Robert Tollison, 2012. "The economic theory of rent seeking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(1), pages 73-82, July.
- Ekelund, Robert B. & Hebert, Robert F. & Tollison, Robert D. & Anderson, Gary M. & Davidson, Audrey B., 1997. "Sacred Trust: The Medieval Church as an Economic Firm," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103373.
- International Monetary Fund, 1997. "Corruption and the Rate of Temptation - Do Low Wages in the Civil Service Cause Corruption?," IMF Working Papers 97/73, International Monetary Fund.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.