Monday, February 23, 2009

The continuing relevance of the bootlegger-and-Baptist model

We've had a few posts on Prof. Yandle, I link to one after the headline story from Knowledge Problem:

In 1983 Bruce Yandle wrote an influential article in Regulation, “Bootleggers and Baptists: The Education of a Regulatory Economist”. His model explains how two parties with seemingly incongruent values can come together to get a regulation passed that meets the objectives of both parties. In the bootlegger and Baptist case, both parties benefit from restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales, and will therefore lobby politicians in favor of such restrictions. The bootlegger-and-Baptist model even has its own Wikipedia page. It’s a very powerful model for understanding coalition formation and regulation in many situations.

Recently in Newsweek George Will wrote about Yandle’s model in a column striking a cautionary note about the current increase in government regulation and involvement in the economy. To illustrate the dynamics and the incentives, Will discusses two cases: sulfur dioxide emission regulation via technology mandates, and tobacco regulation....MORE

From June of '07's "Eco-Hypocrisy Corporate Style II":

As we look at corporate eco-hypocrisy I am going to refer to a few concepts from economics and the green movement, "Bootleggers and Baptists", rent-seeking and greenwashing.

Bootleggers and Baptists:
"Here is the essence of the theory: durable social regulation evolves when it is demanded by both of two distinctly different groups. “Baptists” point to the moral high ground and give vital and vocal endorsement of laudable public benefits promised by a desired regulation. Baptists flourish when their moral message forms a visible foundation for political action. “Bootleggers” are much less visible but no less vital. Bootleggers, who expect to profit from the very regulatory restrictions desired by Baptists, grease the political machinery with some of their expected proceeds.
They are simply in it for the money."

From Bootleggers and Baptists in Retrospect by Bruce Yandle (the guy who coined the term).
Rent Seeking:
"Until 1974, the term 'rent seeking' did not exist. This term was invented in 1974 by Anne Kreuger in an excellent paper published in the American Economic Review."
From "The Fundamentals of Rent Seeking" by Gordon Tullock in "The Locke Luminary" vol.1, no.2...MORE