IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Long-run equilibrium and total expenditures in rent-seeking

  • William Corcoran
Registered author(s):

    The objective of this paper is to investigate the assertion that a given rent payoff gives rise to an equal value of total expenditure. An analogy with perfect competition suggests a long-run perspective, which would allow the number of players to vary. Accordingly, a game theoretic model of the competitive process where competitors anticipate rival reactions and expend resources to increase their probability of winning is extended to include entry. Long-run quilibrium occurs when the incentive for entry is dissipated, i.e., expected profits equal 0 or the expected rate of return equals the opportunity cost discount rate. When this occurs total expenditure in rent-seeking is found to equal the payoff as in the standard competitive case. How does this result affect Tullock's policy recommendations? His first finding that total expenditures in rent-seeking can be minimized by holding the number of players down remains intact. Essentially, this requirement restricts entry and as a result maintains the short-run conditions indicated by equations (2) and (3) for a given number of firms. His second recommendation, that of increasing the marginal cost of improving a player's probability of winning must, however, be qualified. If the long-run equilibrium is attained total expenditures will equal the payoff regardless of the marginal cost. If the marginal cost is such that the long-run equilibrium is unbounded, there exists a continuous incentive for new entry. It is possible that total expenditures will increase as entry mounts, but this cannot be determined. A policy of increasing the marginal cost will work, however, if carried out in conjunction with a restriction on entry. In this case the short-run results still apply. Finally, an additional policy recommendation can be deduced. From equation (10) total rent-seeking expenditures will be reduced if the opportunity cost discount rate of return is increased. This may be achieved by such actions as increasing the lag between rent-seeking expenditures and the associated payoff, or unfettering alternative productive investments (reduced taxes, deregulation, etc.). Both result in a larger discount of the payoff. The results support the concern with rent-seeking behavior. It indicates that in the long-run each opportunity for rent — a transfer of wealth — displaces an opportunity for the creation of value which will be equal to or greater than the rent payoff. It will be greater, of course, where the investment alternative cannot capture the full social gain. Copyright Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1984

    If 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.

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/BF00137909
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 43 (1984)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 89-94

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:43:y:1984:i:1:p:89-94
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:

    as in new window
    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Posner, Richard A, 1975. "The Social Costs of Monopoly and Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 807-27, August.
    3. Foster, Edward, 1981. "The Treatment of Rents in Cost-Benefit Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 171-78, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:43:y:1984:i:1:p:89-94. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.