The theoretical literature exploring various ramifications and applications of Tullock's (1980) rent-seeking model is extensive and rapidly growing. In contrast, there exist as yet only a few experimental evaluations of this model, with ambiguous results. Moreover, these studies focus on one particular case (proportional probabilities) and use a problematic experimental design. With an appropriate design we investigate the extreme cases of proportional probabilities and perfect discrimination, which offer the starkest contrast in theoretical predictions. We find substantial evidence for the predictive power of the rent-seeking model, particularly if one allows for the fact that people sometimes make mistakes or are confused about what to do.

European Journal of Political Economy
Erasmus School of Economics

Potters, J., de Vries, C., & van Winden, F. (1998). An experimental examination of rational rent seeking. European Journal of Political Economy, 783–800. doi:10.1016/S0176-2680(98)00037-8