Bootleggers, Baptists and Recent Experience

Featuring Bruce Yandle and Adam Smith

The “Bootlegger and Baptist” theory, a public‐​choice theory developed more than 30 years ago, holds that for a regulation to emerge and endure, both the “bootleggers,” who seek to obtain private benefits from the regulation, and the “Baptists,” who seek to serve the public interest, must support the regulation. Economists Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle discuss the concept.

Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics