Normal politics cannot be expected to produce constraints on the seeking and granting of rents because such activities are fundamental to normal politics. This paper proposes the text of a constitutional amendment to prohibit the granting of special economic privileges and considers how that text ought to be applied to real-world grants of economic privilege, including subsidies, tariffs, environmental regulation, and occupational licensing. By limiting the granting of economic privilege, the amendment would constrain politicians’ rent-extraction behavior and limit incentives for rent-seeking behavior.

James E. Hanley is senior policy analyst at the Empire Center for Public Policy, Albany, New York.
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