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

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

by Adam Smith, Bruce Yandle


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Policy analysts, academics, journalists, and even politicians lament the influence of money on politics. But in the political economy, politicians often carefully design regulations so that two very different interest groups will be satisfied. The Bootlegger and Baptist theory, an innovative 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 provide an accessible description of the theory and cite numerous examples of coalitions of economic and moral interests who desire a common goal. The book applies the theory’s insights to a wide range of current issues, including the recent financial crisis and environmental regulation, and provides readers with both an understanding of how regulation is a product of economic and moral interests and a fresh perspective on the ongoing debate of how special interest groups influence politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781939709363
Publisher: Cato Institute
Publication date: 09/07/2014
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,081,888
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle are economists at Clemson University in South Carolina.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Bootleggers and Baptists: A Winning Coalition
Chapter 2. Bootleggers, Politicians, and Pork
Chapter 3. Why Baptists?
Chapter 4. Sin and Substance: Who are the Real Bootleggers and Baptists?
Chapter 5. The Rocky Road to Climate Change Legislation
Chapter 6. TARP: A Bootlegger without a Baptist
Chapter 7. Obamacare: Too Big to Plan (or Stop!)
Chapter 8. What Have We Learned: When Will it End?
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