Rent Seeking

In economics, “rents” are benefits created by the government. In this video, Professor Michael Munger explains how “rent-seeking”- the competition for government benefits (such as subsidies) by special interest groups and businesses- is harmful for society.

Additional Readings and Videos

Here are recommended readings and additional videos that could be added to a syllabus or lesson plan on this topic.

Books and Articles

Michael Munger, “Rent Seek and You Will Find”

Michael DeBow, “The Ethics of Rent-Seeking?: A New Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility” 12 Journal of Law & Commerce 1 (1992-1993).

Tyler Cowen, Amihai Glazer, and Henry McMillan, “Rent seeking can promote the provision of public goods,” Economics and Politics 6, 2 (July 1994): 131-145.

March, Raymond and Martin, Adam G. and Redford, Audrey, The Substance of Entrepreneurship and the Entrepreneurship of Substances (May 14, 2016). Journal of Entrepreneurship & Public Policy. or

Murphy, Kevin; Shleifer, Andrei; Vishny, Robert (1993). “Why is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?”. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings. 83 (2): 409–414.

Henderson, David. “Rent-Seeking.” Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.

Taylor, Jerry, and Peter Van Doren. 2011. “A Teachable Moment Courtesy of Solyndra .” ng.html

Sahadi, Jeanne.  2013. “The ‘chicken poop’ credit and other bad tax breaks.” CNN.

Geiling, Natasha. 2015. “Environmentalists Want This State to Take Chicken Poop Out of Its Clean Energy Plan.” Think Progress