In Bootleggers & Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics, economists Bruce Yandle and Adam Smith explain how money and morality are often combined in politics to produce arbitrary regulations benefiting cronies, while constraining productive economic activities by the general public. Yandle’s theory asserts that regulatory “bootleggers” are parties taking political action in pursuit of economic gain. Regulatory “Baptists” are parties participating in group action driven by an avowed higher moral purpose or desire to serve the public interest.
By examining major regulatory activities including Obamacare, the recent financial crisis bailouts, climate change legislation, and rules governing “sinful” substances, Bootleggers & Baptists reveals that lasting regulations require moral and financial advocacy to survive the American political process. With countless regulatory initiatives on the horizon, this book is a must-read for all who are concern about over-regulation and government intrusion in our daily lives.