Friday, September 11, 2009

Rent-Seeking: No Such Thing As A Free Census Count

From the AP:

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (AP) -- State governments and civic groups are sinking scarce dollars into the phone banks, TV ads and door-knocking commonly seen in political campaigns to pump up numbers in the upcoming census.

They've got a vested interest in going beyond the U.S. Census Bureau's planned $300 million blitz to try to persuade households to fill out the 10-question form they will receive early next year. Clout in Congress and billions of future federal dollars ride on the once-a-decade head count.

When it is all said and done, it would be fun to estimate the dollar value of the consequences of this by state, and then compare to its expenditures here. Examining which states over or under dissipated the gains with their rent-seeking would be an interesting paper.

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