Do governments pick losers?

I recently wrote here about why governments pick losers: I was only aware of some older thoughts on the subject by Mancur Olson and Gary Becker, but Richard Baldwin writes to alert me to some more recent work he’s done with Frédéric Robert-Nicoud. Those interested in the technical analysis or the extensive bibliography should check it out (NBER version is here, final version was published in the JEEA, 2007).
Others will simply appreciate this line: it is not that government policy picks losers, it is that losers pick government policy.

Tim Harford’s blog

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Tim, also known as the Undercover Economist, writes about the economics of everyday life.