The incidence of overdissipation in rent-seeking contests
Tullock's analysis of rent seeking and overdissipation is reconsidered. We show that, while equilibrium strategies do not permit overdissipation in expectation, for particular realizations of players' mixed strategies the total amount spent competing for rents can exceed the value of the prize. We also show that the cross-sectional incidence of overdissipation in the perfectly discriminating contest ranges from 0.50 to 0.44 as the number of players increases from two to infinity. Thus, even though the original analysis of overdissipation is flawed, there are instances in which rent-seekers spend more than the prize is worth.