Bootleggers and Baptists: A Conversation with Bruce Yandle

While serving as the Executive Director of the Federal Trade Commission during the Reagan years, Bruce Yandle developed a theoretical framework he called "bootleggers and Baptists" to help make sense of regulatory dynamics. As the old story goes, when Baptists lobby for dry Sundays, it's the bootleggers who benefit. Yandle's insight was to point out that "bootlegger and Baptist" coalitions are surprisingly common in US politics. Paul Feine sat down to talk with Yandle about modern day examples of "bootleggers and Baptists."

Bruce Yandle is an economist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; Dean Emeritis of Clemson University's College of Business & Behavioral Science; and a senior fellow at the Property & Environment Research Center. Yandle served as a senior economist on the White House staff during the Ford and Carter administrations and as the Executive Director of the Federal Trade Commission under Reagan. Yandle is the author/editor of 16 books, including, most recently, Regulation by Litigation (Yale Press).

Interview by Paul Feine. Shot by Dan Hayes and Alex Manning. Edited by Paul Detrick.

Approximately 8 minutes.

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

Click here to follow Reason on Instagram


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.