This short video presentation by Bruce Yandle is essential viewing for anyone interested in learning about governments and regulations. Yandle’s original paper on this topic was written while he was executive director of the Federal Trade Commission, titled Bootleggers and Baptists — The Education of a Regulatory Economist. A follow-up paper from 1999 is Bootleggers and Baptists in Retrospect: The marriage of high-flown values and narrow interests continues to thrive.
The video is from LearnLiberty.org, a project of Institute for Humane Studies. In introducing the video, the Institute says: “We all know bootleggers and Baptists rarely see eye to eye. Ask one group and its members will probably tell you they despise the other group. Yet, when it comes to government regulation, both bootleggers and Baptists work together. Prof. Bruce Yandle explains that this happens because both groups actually desire the same outcome. The Baptists benefit, for example, from laws that make the sale of alcoholic beverages illegal on Sundays. Bootleggers benefit because now they can sell alcohol on Sundays. Groups who would never meet together but both desire the same outcome can often be found upon closer examination of many government regulations. Prof. Yandle demonstrates how environmental regulations fit into the bootlegger-Baptist theory.”