rentability, n.rentable, adj.
/rent/, n.
1. a payment made periodically by a tenant to a landlord in return for the use of land, a building, an apartment, an office, or other property.
2. a payment or series of payments made by a lessee to an owner in return for the use of machinery, equipment, etc.
3. Econ. the excess of the produce or return yielded by a given piece of cultivated land over the cost of production; the yield from a piece of land or real estate.
4. profit or return derived from any differential advantage in production.
5. Obs. revenue or income.
6. for rent, available to be rented, as a home or store: an apartment for rent.
7. to grant the possession and enjoyment of (property, machinery, etc.) in return for the payment of rent from the tenant or lessee. (often fol. by out).
8. to take and hold (property, machinery, etc.) in return for the payment of rent to the landlord or owner.
9. to be leased or let for rent: This apartment rents cheaply.
10. to lease or let property.
11. to take possession of and use property by paying rent: She rents from a friend.
[1125-75; (n.) ME rente < OF < VL *rendita, fem. ptp. of *rendere (see RENDER1); (v.) ME renten < OF renter, deriv. of rente]
Syn. 8. lease, let. See hire.
/rent/, n.
1. an opening made by rending or tearing; slit; fissure.
2. a breach of relations or union between individuals or groups; schism.
3. pt. and pp. of rend.
[1325-75 for v. sense; 1525-35 for def. 1; ME; see REND]
Syn. 1. tear, split, rift, cleft, rip, rupture, fracture. 2. division, separation.

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In common usage, payment made in return for the right to use property belonging to another.

In classical economics, rent was the income gained from cultivated or improved land after the deduction of all production costs. In modern economic usage, rent is the difference between the total return to a factor of production (land, labour, capital) and its supply price, the minimum amount necessary to attain its services. Rent plus opportunity cost make up the total income paid to a productive resource. Efforts made by a resource owner to obtain monopoly profit is considered rent-seeking behaviour.

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      in economics, the income derived from the ownership of land and other free gifts of nature. The neoclassical economist Alfred Marshall (Marshall, Alfred), and others after him, chose this definition for technical reasons, even though it is somewhat more restrictive than the meaning given the term in popular usage. Apart from renting land, it is of course possible to rent (in other words, to pay money for the temporary use of any property) houses, automobiles, television sets, and lawn mowers on the understanding that the rented item is to be returned to its owner in essentially the same physical condition.

The classical economic (classical economics) view
      In classical economics, rent was the income derived from the ownership of land and other natural resources in fixed supply. This definition originated in the 18th century as part of the explanation of the distribution of income within society.Classical economists of the 18th and 19th centuries divided society into three groups: landlords (landlord and tenant), labourers (labour), and businessmen (or the “moneyed classes”). This division reflected more or less the sociopolitical structure of Great Britain at the time. The concern of economic theorists was to explain what determined the share of each class in the national product. The income received by landlords as owners of land was called rent.

      It was observed that the demand for the product of land would make it profitable to extend cultivation to soils of lesser and lesser fertility, as long as the addition to the value of output would cover the costs of cultivation on the least fertile acreage cultivated. On land of greater fertility—“intramarginal land”—the costs of cultivation per unit of output would be below that price. This difference between cost and price could be appropriated by the owners of land, who benefitted in this way from the fertility of the soil—a “free gift of nature.”

      Marginal land (the least fertile cultivated) earned no rent. Since, therefore, it was differences in fertility that brought about the surplus for landowners, the return to them was called differential rent. It was also observed, however, that rent emerged not only as cultivation was pushed to the “extensive margin” (to less fertile acreage) but also as it was pushed to the “intensive margin” through more intensive use of the more fertile land. As long as the additional cost of cultivation was less than the addition to the value of the product, it paid to apply more labour and capital to any given piece of land until the net value of the output of the last unit of labour and capital hired had fallen to the level of its incremental cost. The intensive margin would exist even if all land were of equal fertility, as long as land was in scarce supply. It can be called scarcity rent, therefore, to contrast it with differential rent.

      However, because the return to any factor of production, not only to land, can be determined in the same way as scarcity rent, it was often asked why the return to land should be given a special name and special treatment. A justification was found in the fact that land, unlike other factors of production, cannot be reproduced. Its supply (supply and demand) is fixed no matter what its price. Its supply price is effectively zero. By contrast, the supply of labour or capital is responsive to the price that is offered for it. With this in mind, rent was redefined as the return to any factor of production over and above its supply price.

      With the supply price of zero for land, the whole of its return is rent, so defined. The return to any other factor may also contain elements of rent, as long as the return stands above the next-most-lucrative employment open to the factor. For example, a singer's employment outside the opera may bring a great deal less than the opera actually pays. A large part of what the opera pays must therefore be called rent.

      The opera singer's specific talent may be nonreproducible; like land, it is a “free gift of nature.” A particularly effective machine also, though its supply can be increased in time by productive effort, may for a period also earn a quasi-rent, until supply has caught up with demand. Where its supply is artificially restricted by a monopoly (monopoly and competition), the quasi-rent may in fact continue indefinitely. All monopoly profits, it has been argued, should therefore be classified as quasi-rent. Once this point has been reached in the argument, there is perhaps no logical barrier to extending the meaning of rent to cover all property returns. After all, profits and interest can persist only as long as there is no glut of capital. The possibility of producing capital would presage such a glut, one that has been staved off only by new scarcities created by technical progress.

The modern economic view
      In modern economic usage, rent is represented as the difference between the total return to a factor of production (land, labour, or capital) and its supply price—that is, the minimum amount necessary to attain its services.

      The modern extension of this view is that the return to any other component in production may also contain elements of rent, consisting of the difference between the income of a productive factor and its real supply price or cost. Because the supply of land is fixed, the supply price of land is effectively zero and the whole of its return is rent. The supplies of labour and capital, on the other hand, are responsive to the prices offered for them, and the portion of their return regarded as cost will be greater for those with many alternative uses. The rent portion of a productive factor's return also decreases as the analysis is shifted to the long run because there are more alternative uses open to economic resources in the long run. See also utility and value.

Hans Otto Schmitt

Additional Reading
Analyses of economic distribution appear in David Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817, reissued 1981), the classical subsistence theory of wages; Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (1886; originally published in German, 1867), also available in many later editions, treating the process of distribution as pure conflict; John Bates Clark, Distribution of Wealth (1899, reissued 1965), the classic work on marginal productivity theory whereby distribution is viewed as a harmonious process in which the factors of production receive as income what they contribute to the product; Frank H. Knight, Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit (1921, reprinted 1985), an analysis of profits viewed as a result of imperfect foresight and as a remuneration for risk-bearing; Joseph Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development (1934, reprinted 1987; originally published in German, 1912), an analysis of economic development as a result of the innovations of entrepreneurs motivated by profit; Paul H. Douglas, The Theory of Wages (1934, reissued 1964), marginalist theory based on statistical research which sets forth the famous Cobb–Douglas function; K.J. Arrow et al., “Capital–Labor Substitution and Economic Efficiency,” The Review of Economics and Statistics, 43:225–250 (1961), an econometric study explaining the falling share of capital in the national income by the elasticity of substitution; J.R. Hicks, The Theory of Wages, 2nd ed. (1963, reissued 1973), a sophisticated treatment of marginal productivity theory; and Nicholas Kaldor, “Alternative Theories of Distribution,” in his Essays on Value and Distribution, 2nd ed. (1980), a discussion of various theories from Ricardo to Keynes. Dan Usher, The Economic Prerequisite to Democracy (1981), suggests that democracy requires broad agreement on how an economic system will distribute wealth. Other works in this area are Alan S. Blinder, Toward an Economic Theory of Income Distribution (1974); and Ronald G. Ehrenberg and Robert S. Smith, Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy, 5th ed. (1994).Kenneth E. Boulding Paul Lincoln Kleinsorge Hans Otto Schmitt Jan Pen Ed.

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Universalium. 2010.


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