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Rent Dissipation or Government Predation? The Notes Issuance Activity in Italy 1865-1882

  • Antoine Gentier


    (CERGAM-CAE, Aix-Marseille Université)

  • Giuseppina Gianfreda


    (University of Tuscia)

  • Nathalie Janson


    (Rouen School of Management)

The aim of the paper is to examine the hypothesis of rent dissipation in the case of the Italian banking system during the suspension of gold convertibility. The major bank of the new born state of Italy – the Banca Nazionale nel regno d’Italia – experienced over the period 1866-1881 a decrease in its profitability inconsistent with the suspension of convertibility exclusively granted to its notes until 1874 but consistent with rent-seeking activity. The Banca Nazionale d’Italia was giving up present profit in order to maximize its chance to get the monopoly over money issue. Under these circumstances the rent seeking cost is not represented by the bribes offered to civil servants but by the forgone profit borne by shareholders. The complex relationships between banks and government in order to capture the benefits of seignoriage lead to a rent seeking game with evolving rules. The government changed the rules, and adopted an opportunistic behavior.

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Paper provided by Aix-Marseille Université, CERGAM in its series CAE Working Papers with number 88.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cgm:wpaper:88
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  1. Michael R. Baye & Dan Kovenock & Casper G. de Vries, 1997. "The Incidence of Overdissipation in Rent-Seeking Contests," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-045/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Mixon, Franklin G, Jr & Laband, David N & Ekelund, Robert B, Jr, 1994. " Rent Seeking and Hidden In-Kind Resource Distortion: Some Empirical Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 78(2), pages 1717-85, February.
  3. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1993. "The Solution to the Tullock Rent-Seeking Game when r>2: Mixed-Strategy Equilibria and Mean Dissipation Rates," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1039, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  4. Ciccarelli, Carlo & Fenoaltea, Stefano & Proietti, Tommaso, 2008. "The comovements of construction in Italy's regions, 1861-1913," MPRA Paper 8870, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Robert Tollison, 2012. "The economic theory of rent seeking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(1), pages 73-82, July.
  6. Sobel, Russell S & Garrett, Thomas A, 2002. " On the Measurement of Rent Seeking and Its Social Opportunity Cost," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 112(1-2), pages 115-36, July.
  7. Selgin, George, 2001. "In-Concert Overexpansion and the Precautionary Demand for Bank Reserves," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(2), pages 294-300, May.
  8. Ciccarelli Carlo & Fenoaltea Stefano, 2008. "Construction in Italy's Regions, 1861-1913," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 303-340.
  9. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D., 1993. "The Solution of the Tullock Rent-Seeking Game when R > 2 : Mixed-Strategy Equilibria and Mean Dissipation Rates," Discussion Paper 1993-68, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. 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.
  11. Gordon Tullock, 1984. "Long-run equilibrium and total expenditures in rent-seeking: A comment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 95-97, January.
  12. Arye Hillman & Dov Samet, 1987. "Dissipation of contestable rents by small numbers of contenders," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 63-82, January.
  13. Giuseppina Gianfreda & Nathalie Janson, 2001. "Le banche di emissione in Italia tra il 1861 e il 1893: un caso di concorrenza?," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 91(1), pages 15-74, January.
  14. Ciccarelli, Carlo & Fenoaltea, Stefano, 2007. "Business fluctuations in Italy, 1861-1913: The new evidence," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 432-451, July.
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