Bruce Yandle

  • Distinguished Adjunct Fellow

Bruce Yandle is a Distinguished Adjunct Fellow for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He specializes in public choice, regulation, and free-market environmentalism. Yandle frequently briefs Capitol Hill policymakers on economic issues and lectures regularly in Mercatus programs for House and Senate staffers.

In 1983, Yandle developed the “Bootleggers and Baptists” political model, in which opposite moral positions lead to the same vote. He argued that bootleggers, who benefit financially from blue laws regulating the sale of alcohol, give support to Baptists advocating the desired public policy, because “when the Baptists go away, the Bootleggers lose their territory.” His 2014 book Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics, coauthored with economist Adam Smith, explores this topic further.

Yandle is dean emeritus of the Clemson College of Business and Behavioral Sciences and was executive director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and senior economist on the President’s Council on Wage and Price Stability.

Yandle received his PhD and MBA from Georgia State University and his BA from Mercer University.

The Legacy of Bruce Yandle, edited by Donald J. Boudreaux and Roger Meiners, was released in 2020 and includes original essays and reflections that pay tribute to Yandle for his unusual ability as a teacher and researcher. The volume concludes with an essay by Yandle himself, looking back on his career and the state of economics and policy making today and issuing a call to action for the next generation of scholars and teachers in political economy.

Publications & Appearances