"A courageous attempt to measure the waste of social value involved in securing and preventing transfers, privately and publicly."
—Prof. James Buchanan, Nobel laureate
"At last! Everyone knows that much of what passes for economic activity is not productive at all. Instead of creating wealth, individuals, companies, and interest groups can devote resources to appropriating the wealth of others. Apart from downright theft are the entirely legal yet antisocial activities known as 'rent-seeking,' which can take the form of tort litigation, industrial disputes, tax privileges, subsidies, or restrictions on entry. Adding to the waste, rent-seeking threats evoke what may be even costlier defensive actions on the part of the intended victims.The authors have courageously attempted to estimate the current social costs of coerced transfers, both actual and threatened (not the total amount transferred, which is vastly larger, but the resources burned up in the process). Although the total comes to an astounding $400 billion in current dollars, the authors go on to demonstrate that this number is too low. Nevertheless, as an important first step, the authors have provided both ammunition and guidance for policy and research efforts aimed at improving the American economy."
—Prof. Jack Hirshleifer, UCLA
"By estimating the social cost of capturing and resisting transfers, Laband and McClintock provide insights into a host of policy concerns that are not addressed directly. For example, anyone who believes that the special-interest influence of campaign contributions can be reduced by enacting more restrictions should read this book. The clear implication is that the only way to reduce political influence peddling is to reduce political influence itself, by reducing the amount governments transfer."
—Prof. Dwight Lee, Ramsey Professor of Economics and Private Enterprise, University of Georgia