an explanation of Rent Seeking Behavior and its social costs in Forbes, What is Rent Seeking Behavior

Rent-seeking never encourages productivity. The production of valuable goods and services is maximized with strong property rights when little is wasted in efforts to seize the surplus of others or to prevent others from seizing our surplus.

During a strong economy there are fewer incentives for rent-seeking because production is highly rewarded. But when economic times make it more difficult to produce, it becomes more attractive to rent-seek someone else’s surplus.

A wasteful amount of rent-seeking accompanies most government spending. Studies suggest that $1.5 trillion is wasted on public sector rent-seeking. However, because each individual is making a personally profitable decision even if it is a waste of resources overall, it is hard to move a society away from such unproductive behavior. The best way to improve the situation is to reduce the size of government. When there is less money, there will be less corruption and less incentive to rent-seek.