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A theory of rent seeking with informational foundations

  • Johan Lagerlöf

    ()

I develop a model of rent seeking with informational foundations and an arbitrary number of rent seekers, and I compare the results with Tullock's (1980) classic model where the influence activities are "black-boxed." Given the microfoundations, the welfare consequences of rent seeking can be studied. In particular, I show that competition among rent seekers can be socially beneficial, since the additional information that the decision maker gets access to makes the increase in rent-seeking expenditures worthwhile. However, the analysis also highlights a logic that, under natural parameter assumptions, makes the rent seekers spend more resources on rent seeking than is in society's interest, which is consistent with the spirit of the rent-seeking literature.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10101-006-0026-8
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economics of Governance.

Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 197-218

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Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:8:y:2007:i:3:p:197-218
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  1. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2000. "Lobbying Legislatures," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  2. Heidhues, Paul & Lagerlöf, Johan N. M., 2003. "On the Desirability of an Efficiency Defense in Merger Control," CEPR Discussion Papers 3841, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Lars Frisell & Johan N. M. Lagerlöf, 2007. "A Model of Reputation in Cheap Talk," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(1), pages 49-70, 03.
  5. Tullock, Gordon, 1975. "On the Efficient Organization of Trials," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 745-62.
  6. Jean-Jacques LAFFONT & Jean TIROLE, 1990. "The Politics of Government Decision-Making : a Theory of Regulatory Capture," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9004, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  7. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1985. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 749, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  9. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. " Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-92, October.
  10. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 518-30, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
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