EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Rent seeking as an evolving process: the case of the Ancien Régime

Robert Ekelund () and Mark Thornton ()

Public Choice, 2020, vol. 182, issue 1, No 7, 139-155

Abstract: Abstract Rent-seeking behavior can thrive in democratic and other forms of government where the government is able to hand out exclusive privileges or positions. One of the most famous examples is the venal aristocratic Ancien Régime of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France. This paper presents the Revolution as guided by private interests rather than as an uprising powered by aspirations of peasants for the provision of public goods. While taxation, income distribution, and multiple other causal factors played a role, opposition to rent seeking, from merchants, tradespeople, upper-income members of the Third Estate, and others negatively affected by French policies, was the tipping point leading to the Revolution in 1789. In constructing a public choice–based theory to make this argument, we bifurcate the mercantilism that characterized the French economy into seventeenth- and eighteenth-century types.

Keywords: Rent-seeking; French mercantilism; Public choice; Revolution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N H3 K0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11127-019-00674-8 Abstract (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:182:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-019-00674-8

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... ce/journal/11127/PS2

DOI: 10.1007/s11127-019-00674-8

Access Statistics for this article

Public Choice is currently edited by WIlliam F. Shughart II

More articles in Public Choice from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

 
Page updated 2021-06-08
Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:182:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-019-00674-8