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A theory of rent seeking with informational foundations

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  • Johan Lagerlöf

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Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Johan Lagerlöf, 2007. "A theory of rent seeking with informational foundations," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 197-218, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:8:y:2007:i:3:p:197-218 DOI: 10.1007/s10101-006-0026-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tullock, Gordon, 1975. "On the Efficient Organization of Trials," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 745-762.
    2. Lagerlof, Johan N.M. & Heidhues, Paul, 2005. "On the desirability of an efficiency defense in merger control," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(9-10), pages 803-827, December.
    3. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1991. "The Politics of Government Decision-Making: A Theory of Regulatory Capture," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 1089-1127.
    4. Lohmann, Susanne, 1994. "Information Aggregation through Costly Political Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 518-530.
    5. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 18-32.
    6. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, December.
    7. Meissner, Joern & Senicheva, Olga V., 2018. "Approximate dynamic programming for lateral transshipment problems in multi-location inventory systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, pages 49-64.
    8. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2002. "Lobbying Legislatures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 919-948, August.
    9. 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.
    10. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 291-303.
    11. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 18-32.
    12. 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, March.
    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:03:p:566-581_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
    15. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. "Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-292, October.
    16. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stergios Skaperdas & Samarth Vaidya, 2012. "Persuasion as a contest," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 465-486.
    2. Etienne Farvaque & Gael Lagadec, 2009. "Electoral Control when Policies are for Sale," CESifo Working Paper Series 2522, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Martin Gregor, 2011. "Corporate lobbying: A review of the recent literature," Working Papers IES 2011/32, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Nov 2011.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rent seeking; Competition; Lobbying; Information acquisition; Disclosure; Welfare; D42; D43; D72; D83; L13;

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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