I know rent is the amount of money that you pay regularly to use a house, flat, or piece of land. But in this sentence, it seems that it's not true.

For example over half of all distortionary trade policy instruments worldwide consist of subsidies including production and export subsidies. Such subsidies introduce economic distortions, generate rents for favored political people and are difficult to remove once they're in place.

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    Rent has a broader meaning than payment for land, property, or equipment. It is a regular fee paid in return for something. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 16:27
  • @WeatherVane I disagree. I'd call this a metaphor. Rent isn't that generic. You don't pay rent to your electricity company, to your mortgage holder, to your university (except for student housing), or to politicians. But metaphors open the door for any use case as long as the meaning can be inferred from context, as is the case here.
    – TypeIA
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 17:41
  • @TypeIA well, there can be talk of renting a politician, and politicians who exhibit rent-seeking behaviour. Neither phrase/activity is new, and is no metaphor but actuality: money changes hands. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 18:01
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    What is the source of this quote?
    – StephenS
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


This is an obscure meaning of “rent”, mostly used by early anti-capitalism economists, for what we now commonly call “profit”.

  • See the French word rentier, someone who lives on the income from property or investments. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 18:18

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