Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Todd Sandler


A theoretical model of rent-seeking is tested by applying it to the case of pesticide policy. Two coalitions of interest groups are seen as competing to influence legislators in their decisions to regulate pesticides. The coalitions determine the optimal level of rent-seeking activities by balancing the expected benefits of rent-seeking with the costs of rent-seeking at the margin. Rent-seeking activities are found to be functions of the size of the coalition and the level of rent set by the regulator. Legislators determine the optimal level of rent by equating expected benefits and costs at the margin. The level of rent set by a legislator is a function of the rent-seeking activities of the coalitions, share of rent-seeking activities captured by the legislator, and income of the legislator;Probit estimation is used to analyze legislators' votes on two bills to amend pesticide legislation (a proxy for rent). Results show that political party, which is not a part of the original theoretical framework, is the single most important factor affecting votes. However, an analysis of votes conditional on party shows that the theoretical model performs very well for Democrats, but not so well for Republicans;Tobit estimation is used in the analysis of campaign contributions of the coalitions to the legislators, which serves as a proxy for rent-seeking activities. The theoretical model performs well for the coalition representing private interests, but not for the coalition representing public interests.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sherry Jo Wise



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

168 pages