Gordon Tullock, a brilliant economist, has passed away. His book The Calculus of Consent, which he coauthored with Nobel Laureate James Buchanan, is considered a classic economics text. From Brian Doherty at Reason:
Tullock was, among other accomplishments, the intellectual father of the concept of rent-seeking, summed up well by David Henderson. An excerpt:
It has been known for centuries that people lobby the government for privileges. Tullock’s insight was that expenditures on lobbying for privileges are costly and that these expenditures, therefore, dissipate some of the gains to the beneficiaries and cause inefficiency. If, for example, a steel firm spends one million dollars lobbying and advertising for restrictions on steel imports, whatever money it gains by succeeding, presumably more than one million, is not a net gain. From this gain must be subtracted the one-million-dollar cost of seeking the restrictions. Although such an expenditure is rational from the narrow viewpoint of the firm that spends it, it represents a use of real resources to get a transfer from others and is therefore a pure loss to the economy as a whole.
Tonight, Dr. Tullock’s students and colleagues tweeted their condolences.
Rest in peace, Professor Tullock.