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Uncontestable favoritism

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  • Matthew D. Mitchell

    (George Mason University)

Abstract

One might obtain special favor or avoid disfavor by winning a competitive contest, a socially wasteful process that has been studied extensively in the rent-seeking literature. But favor or disfavor might also be uncontestable. In that case it will be efficient along some dimensions but grossly inequitable. The rent-seeking literature, in focusing on contest success functions, has tended to ignore the institutional roots of uncontestable rent-creation and rent-extraction. But casual observation suggests that institutional rules and cultural norms often ensure that favor and disfavor cannot be easily contested. Understanding that observation helps to resolve the Tullock paradox and explains the evolutionary persistence of inequitable social arrangements. It also illuminates economic and philosophical tradeoffs.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew D. Mitchell, 2019. "Uncontestable favoritism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 181(1), pages 167-190, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:181:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0588-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-018-0588-3
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rent seeking; Contests; Uncontestable; Corruption; Cronyism; Crony capitalism; Favoritism; Privilege;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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