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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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The Welfare Implications of Rent Control: A Rent-Seeking Contest Approach

Yang-Ming Chang1 / Shane D. Sanders2

1Kansas State University,

2Nicholls State University,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 10, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.2369, October 2010

Publication History

Published Online:
2010-10-07

Abstract

This paper uses a contest approach to characterize a probabilistic, non-price contest between potential consumers of rent-controlled apartments. The model extends upon the rent control model of Glaeser and Luttmer (2003) as well as the rent-seeking contributions of Hurley (1998), Dixit (1987), and Hirshleifer (1989) to consider the roles of chance and endogenously-chosen efforts in the allocation of rent-controlled apartments. Nash equilibrium effort levels for each consumer-type imply that the effort-inducing cost of rent control is greater than the misallocative cost. Further, misallocative costs are lower under the effort contest interpretation than under random allocation, as high willingness to pay consumers allocates more effort. The relationship between effort contest and misallocation influences the policy’s overall social cost.

Keywords: rent control; welfare; market; price control

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