Bruce Yandle

Bruce Yandle

  • Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics
  • Senior Affiliated Scholar

Bruce Yandle is a distinguished Mercatus Center adjunct professor of economics 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 forthcoming book, Bootleggers and Baptists: Explaining America’s Regulatory Saga, 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.

Published Research

Bruce Yandle | Jun 01, 2016
Near-zero GDP growth. Strong dollar. Weak exports. Factory recession. Fed hesitancy. Low inflation and low interest rates. Solid consumer spending. Accelerating construction. Rising home sales. China turning the corner? These keywords seen frequently in recent news stories pretty well describe the 2016 midyear economy.
Bruce Yandle | Mar 01, 2016
With falling exports induced by a strong dollar, declining investment in the energy sector driven by falling oil prices, and a Chinese economy that continues to weaken, the US economy seems to be locked in low gear. GDP growth for 4Q2015 came in at a snail-paced 0.7 percent, giving 2.4 percent growth for the year, the same as for 2014. Pass the word. The world is flat!
Dima Yazji Shamoun, Bruce Yandle | Feb 2016
A successful president, e.g., one who can be reelected or help to pave the way for the party in the next election, must find ways to steer bureau activities in his preferred direction while delivering on regulatory promises made in the process of being elected. Our review of all empirical work on White House review as well as our own institutional and statistical findings yield strong support to the notion that the review process provides opportunities to make presidential preferences operational.
Bruce Yandle | Dec 01, 2015
Fed uncertainty, the levitated dollar, China’s continuing weak economy, Europe’s mixed bag, and US political crazy season combine to yield a slow but somehow sound winter economy. Let’s take it from the top. The most recent third quarter 2015 GDP growth estimate arrived to the tune of 1.5 percent.

Working Papers

Antony Davies, Bruce Yandle, Derek Thieme, Robert Sarvis | Apr 05, 2012
Can deliberate government spending activities have a continuing net positive impact on economic activity? Do federal spending programs designed to offset a recession’s negative effects really add a net positive nudge to GDP growth? Can government purposefully and successfully stimulate ongoing employment growth?
Bruce Yandle, Jody Lipford | Aug 01, 2011
This paper seeks to examine a relationship between the share of citizens who pay taxes, taxpayers, and those who receive federally funded benefits, tax spenders, or what we ordinarily think of as tax beneficiaries.
Bruce Yandle | Jan 27, 2011
Where do jobs come from? This paper takes a detailed look at what policymakers need to know when in comes to creating jobs.
Jody Lipford, Bruce Yandle | Mar 16, 2010
The North American Free Trade Agreement generated much debate about the effects of freer and more open trade on the environment. Many environmentalists believed increased trade would lead to environmental degradation, while many economists argued that increased trade would enrich countries, leading to environmental improvement. Substantial empirical work supported an Environmental Kuznets Curve in which rising income increases pollution until a certain threshold is reached, after which pollution diminishes. In this paper we examine Mexico’s environmental record in the pre- and post-NAFTA periods. The evidence shows that although Mexico’s environmental quality has improved by some measures, by most measures it has deteriorated. We conclude that economic growth has been insufficient to bring widespread environmental improvement.

Policy Briefs

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Media Clippings

Bruce Yandle | Sep 20, 2012
Outlet: National Center for Policy Analysis
Bruce Yandle | Sep 16, 2012
Outlet: The Washington Examiner
Bruce Yandle | Sep 10, 2012
Outlet: Independent Mail
Bruce Yandle | May 01, 2012
Outlet: The U.S. News and World Report

Expert Commentary

Jul 11, 2016

This year’s struggle in both major parties — Democrat and Republican — to identify and rally behind a clear-cut presidential nominee tells us that there is more going on than just the action of unorthodox candidates.
Jul 05, 2016

Given what we know now about Brexit and its possible repair, what would have been a ho-hum year for the nation, with wide variation across states and regions, will be even slower. And 2017 will look a lot like it. Welcome to the slow lane.
Nov 27, 2014

Amidst all the revelry and regret concerning the Republican election-day sweep, it was easy to miss another groundbreaking victory. Voters in the city of Berkeley, California, gave roaring support for a one-cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks, the first ever in the United States.
Feb 14, 2013

Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago and former White House chief of staff, is famous for a lot of things. But perhaps his most celebrated claim to fame has to do with the politics of crises.
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