Creator: Boldrin, Michele and Levine, David K. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 347 Abstract:
Innovations and their adoption are the keys to growth and development. Innovations are less socially useful, but more profitable for the innovator, when they are adopted slowly and the innovator remains a monopolist. For this reason, rent-seeking, both public and private, plays an important role in determining the social usefulness of innovations. This paper examines the political economy of intellectual property, analyzing the trade-off between private and public rent-seeking. While it is true in principle that public rent-seeking may be a substitute for private rent-seeking, it is not true that this results always either in less private rent-seeking or in a welfare improvement. When the public sector itself is selfish and behaves rationally, we may experience the worst of public and private rent-seeking together.
Stichwort: Patent, Intellectual property, Rent seeking, Trade secrecy, and Innovation Fach: D42 - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design: Monopoly and D62 - Externalities
Creator: Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 468 Abstract:
Fifty-eight years ago, Harberger (1954) estimated that the costs of monopoly, which resulted from misallocation of resources across industries, were trivial. Others showed the same was true for tariffs. This research soon led to the consensus that monopoly costs are of little significance—a consensus that persists to this day.
This paper reports on a new literature that takes a different approach to the costs of monopoly. It examines the costs of monopoly and tariffs within industries. In particular, it examines the histories of industries in which a monopoly is destroyed (or tariffs greatly reduced) and the industry transitions quickly from monopoly to competition. If there are costs to monopoly and high tariffs within industries, we should be able to see these costs whittled away as the monopoly is destroyed.
In contrast to the prevailing consensus, this new research has identified significant costs of monopoly. Monopoly (and high tariffs) is shown to significantly lower productivity within establishments. It also leads to misallocation within industry: resources are transferred from high to low productivity establishments.
From these histories a common theme (or theory) emerges as to why monopoly is costly. When a monopoly is created, “rents” are created. Conflict emerges among shareholders, managers, and employees of the monopoly as they negotiate how to divide these rents. Mechanisms are set up to split the rents. These mechanisms are often means to reduce competition among members of the monopoly. Although the mechanisms divide rents, they also destroy them (by leading to low productivity and misallocation).
Stichwort: X-inefficiency, Competition, Monopoly, and Rent seeking Fach: F10 - Trade: General, D20 - Production and Organizations: General, and L00 - Industrial Organization: General
Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao and Peled, Dan Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 503 Abstract:
It is often argued that with a positively skewed income distribution (median less than mean) a majority voting over proportional tax rates would result in higher tax rates than those that maximize average welfare, and will accordingly reduce aggregate savings. We reexamine this view in a capital accumulation model, in which distorting redistributive taxes provide insurance against idiosyncratic shocks, and income distributions evolve endogenously. We find small differences of either sign between the tax rates set by a majority voting and a utilitarian government, for reasonable parametric specifications. We show how these differences reflect a greater responsiveness of a utilitarian government to the average need for the insurance provided by the tax-redistribution scheme. These conclusions remain true despite the fact that the model simulations produce positively skewed distributions of total income across agents.
Stichwort: Votes, Taxes, and Income distribution Fach: E62 - Fiscal Policy and D72 - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Creator: Barbosa, Antonio S. Pinto., Jovanovic, Boyan, 1951-, and Spiegel, Mark. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
This paper analyzes how political stability depends on economic factors. Fluctuations in groups' economic capacities and in their abilities to engage in rent-seeking or predatory behavior create periodic incentives for those groups to renege on their social obligations. A constitution remains in force so long as no party wishes to defect to the noncooperative situation, and it is reinstituted as soon as each party finds it to its advantage to revert to cooperation. Partnerships of equals are easier to sustain than are arrangements in which one party is more powerful in some economic or noneconomic trait. In this sense, inequality is bad for social welfare. Surprisingly, perhaps, it is the rich, and not the poor segments of society who in our model pose the greater threat to the stability of the social order. Using cross-country data, we test and confirm the prediction that most constitutional disruptions should be accompanied by increases in income inequality.
Stichwort: Welfare, Social problems, Interest groups, and Economic models Fach: E52 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Monetary policy and D72 - Analysis of collective decision-making - Models of political processes : Rent-seeking, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior
Creator: Garrido, Miguel and Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 686 Abstract:
The Cincinnati Post published its last edition on New Year’s Eve 2007, leaving the Cincinnati Enquirer as the only daily newspaper in the market. The next year, fewer candidates ran for municipal office in the Kentucky suburbs most reliant on the Post, incumbents became more likely to win reelection, and voter turnout and campaign spending fell. These changes happened even though the Enquirer at least temporarily increased its coverage of the Post’s former strongholds. Voter turnout remained depressed through 2010, nearly three years after the Post closed, but the other effects diminished with time. We exploit a difference-in-differences strategy and the fact that the Post’s closing date was fixed 30 years in advance to rule out some non-causal explanations for our results. Although our findings are statistically imprecise, they demonstrate that newspapers—even underdogs such as the Post, which had a circulation of just 27,000 when it closed—can have a substantial and measurable impact on public life
Stichwort: Joint operating agreements, Newspapers, and Elections Fach: L82 - Entertainment; Media, K21 - Antitrust Law, D72 - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior, and N82 - Micro-Business History: U.S.; Canada: 1913-
Creator: Chang, Roberto Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
This paper examines the determination of the rate of growth in an economy in which two political parties, each representing a different social class, negotiate the magnitude and allocation of taxes. Taxes may increase growth if they finance public services, but reduce growth when used to redistribute income between classes. The different social classes have different preferences about growth and redistribution. The resulting conflict is resolved through the tax negotiations between the political parties. I use the model to obtain empirical predictions and policy lessons about the relationship between economic growth and income inequality. In particular, I show that, although differences in growth rates across countries may be negatively related to income inequality, redistributing wealth does not enhance growth.
Fach: D72 - Analysis of collective decision-making - Models of political processes : Rent-seeking, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior and O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models