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Rent dissipation or government predation ? The notes issuance activity in Italy 1865-1882


  • Antoine Gentier

    (CERGAM - Centre d'Études et de Recherche en Gestion d'Aix-Marseille - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille 3 - AMU IAE - Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE) - Aix-en-Provence - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université)

  • Giusepina Gianfreda
  • Nathalie Janson

    (Pôle Finance Responsable - Rouen Business School - Rouen Business School)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine Gentier & Giusepina Gianfreda & Nathalie Janson, 2011. "Rent dissipation or government predation ? The notes issuance activity in Italy 1865-1882," Post-Print hal-00735325, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00735325
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gordon Tullock, 1984. "Long-run equilibrium and total expenditures in rent-seeking: A comment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 95-97, January.
    2. 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 115-136, July.
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    4. 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 1717-1785, February.
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    6. Arye Hillman & Dov Samet, 1987. "Dissipation of contestable rents by small numbers of contenders," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(1), pages 63-82, January.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Baye, Michael R & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G, 1999. "The Incidence of Overdissipation in Rent-Seeking Contests," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 439-454, June.
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    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    social waste; investment effort; rent-seeking; dissipation of the rent; seignoriage; free banking;

    JEL classification:

    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption


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