The costs of rent seeking: A metaphysical problem

  • Gordon Tullock


It is well known that one of the reasons that Congressmen vote for such things as protective tariffs and the farm subsidy program is that they think it will attract votes. Economists are almost always opposed to these items because they think that they injure the voters. Technically speaking, what happens is that the voters specialize their vote, i.e., concentrate their entire preference function on one particular issue (or a few issues) which has considerable importance to them. Other voters, concentrating their voting decision on other special issues, ignore the well-being of the first voter.


Public Good Public Choice Cotton Textile Rent Seek Vote Decision 
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  1. 1.
    The advice came from the Department of State which simply misunderstood economics.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The bankers didn’t want them.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    We need not worry about the problem of comparing utility between persons. Science-fiction, after all, is science-fiction.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    With the infinite time somehow having zero cost to him.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    knew a wealthy man whose foundation provided financial support for tournaments between professional bridge players. I thought this was a total waste of money, but he didn’t. The Internal Revenue Service ruled that it was a charitable contribution.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    I’ve just been informed that a senior professor in one of the states which produces textiles is in the process of being driven from his university because he wrote a paper in which he said that textile tariffs were a bad idea.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon Tullock
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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