Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary and conclusions Exploring the variation in the structure of rent-seeking games widens the field of positive institutional theory. By altering the structure of Tullock's (1980) efficient rent-seeking game, some additional insight into the various possible forms of rent-seeking behavior is derived. Furthermore, the games presented demonstrate that Tullock's theory of rent-seeking has a wide variety of potential applications outside the standard profit seeking paradigm of neoclassical theory. The rent-seeking games introduced in this paper are not an exhaustive listing of game types, but rather a demonstration of the diversity of Tullock's game and the rich variety of solutions which result. The specific structure a game takes is a function of the economic, political, and social context from which it arises. Furthermore, the resulting level of residual rent will be determined by the game's structure. As Tullock (1980) points out, this result may be the more interesting. People play games to increase their wealth by the capture of residual rents, and the magnitude of this rent is determined by the rules under which the games are played. Thus, there are incentives for players to structure their rent-seeking game to obtain a desired result. An obvious extension of this study is the inclusion of bias, a larger number of players, and nonlinear probabilities. When a specific topic is under exploration, the bias and level of entry of additional players many generate some of the most interesting results. For example, suppose the rent-seeking model was being adopted for a study of revolution. The existence of several political parties and their allies, increasing the number of players, and the technological level of the various interest groups would be of central importance. The approach taken to resolving these issues should be applicable to a wide variety of circumstances, and this realization should substantially enrich the discourse on rent-seeking behavior and its implications.
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