Rents, Dissipation, and Lost Treasures: Rethinking Tullock's Paradox

14 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2003  

Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Amsterdam Law School; Amsterdam Business School; Tinbergen Institute

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna


In this paper we revisit Tullock's (1980) paradox and consider a rent-seeking game in which parties face increasing returns to effort. We allow parties to randomize their strategies and give them an exit option. Given the mixed participation strategies of the parties, valuable rents may occasionally remain unexploited. We consider such a lost-treasure effect as an additional cost of rent-seeking and examine how the expected value of such a lost rent varies with changes in the parameters of the problem.

Keywords: rent-seeking, rent dissipation, Tullock's paradox

JEL Classification: C72, D72

Suggested Citation

Dari‐Mattiacci, Giuseppe and Parisi, Francesco, Rents, Dissipation, and Lost Treasures: Rethinking Tullock's Paradox. Public Choice, Vol. 124, Nos. 3-4, pp. 411-422, September 2005; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 03-53. Available at SSRN: or

Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Roetersstraat 18
Amsterdam, 1018WB

Tinbergen Institute

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS

Francesco Parisi (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
40126 Bologna, fc 47100

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