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Rent-seeking and optimal regulation in replenishable resource industries

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  • Eliakim Katz
  • J. Smith

Abstract

In this paper, wasteful rent-seeking behaviour has been shown to have important implications for the determination of the welfare maximizing regulatory policies of replenishable natural resource industries. In general, the incorporation of wasteful rent-seeking activity into the analysis leads to policies which suggest a greater level of industry output than has been advocated by tradition policies that do not take rent-seeking into account. Our analysis therefore supports a more laissez faire policy than has been recommended in the literature. Specifically, we find that when rents are completely dissipated by wasteful rent-seeking activity (t=1), the role of the regulator is simply to guarantee biological efficiency, should this be threatened by the economic equilibrium achieved by the free-access of firms. One of two possibilities can occur. In the first, the economic equilibrium determined by the free-access of firms is biologically efficient, i.e., the equilibrium steady state of the replenishable natural resource exceeds or is equal to the maximum sustainable yield stock size (x MSY ). If this occurs, the regulator needs to take no action whatsoever. In the second case, the economic equilibrium generated by the free-access of firms does not yield biological efficiency. The equilibrium is characterized by a steady state stock of the natural resource that is smaller that the maximum sustainable yield stock size, namely (x MSY > x MSY ). In this case, therefore, the regulator does need to intervene, but his best policy takes the simple form of setting the total quota equal to the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of the resource. Thus, while the results are to some extent consistent to those derived by Buchanan for the regulation of externalities, the fact that we are dealing here with replenishable resources adds a further dimension to the issue and changes some of the policy implications. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Suggested Citation

  • Eliakim Katz & J. Smith, 1988. "Rent-seeking and optimal regulation in replenishable resource industries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 59(1), pages 25-36, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:59:y:1988:i:1:p:25-36
    DOI: 10.1007/BF00119447
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hillman, Arye L & Katz, Eliakim, 1984. "Risk-Averse Rent Seekers and the Social Cost of Monopoly Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(373), pages 104-110, March.
    2. Robert D. Tollison, 1982. "Rent Seeking: A Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 575-602, November.
    3. Bhagwati, Jagdish N & Srinivasan, T N, 1980. "Revenue Seeking: A Generalization of the Theory of Tariffs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(6), pages 1069-1087, December.
    4. Bhagwati, Jagdish N., 1980. "Lobbying and welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 355-363, December.
    5. Appelbaum, Elie & Katz, Eliakim, 1987. "Seeking Rents by Setting Rents: The Political Economy of Rent Seeking," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 685-699, September.
    6. Posner, Richard A, 1975. "The Social Costs of Monopoly and Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 807-827, August.
    7. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
    8. Elie Appelbaum & Eliakim Katz, 1986. "Transfer seeking and avoidance: On the full social costs of rent seeking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 175-181, January.
    9. Barry Smith, J., 1980. "Replenishable resource management under uncertainty: A reexamination of the U.S. Northern Fishery," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 209-219, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elie Appelbaum & Eliakim Katz, 1986. "Transfer seeking and avoidance: On the full social costs of rent seeking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 175-181, January.
    2. Eliakim Katz & Jacob Rosenberg, 1989. "Rent-seeking for budgetary allocation: Preliminary results for 20 countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 133-144, February.
    3. Cairns, Robert D., 1992. "La recherche de rentes en situation d’incertitude avec ou sans opposition," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 68(3), pages 477-498, septembre.

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