Bruce Yandle

Bruce Yandle

  • Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics

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 | Feb 27, 2015
Has the US economy kicked off third quarter’s running cleats and slipped on bedroom shoes with very soft soles? The running pace has changed abruptly. As the accompanying chart tells us, the second estimate for growth in the fourth quarter of 2014 fell to 2.2 percent from the third quarter’s hair-raising 5.0 percent. Is this the economic engine that is pulling the world economy?
Bruce Yandle | Dec 01, 2014
There are potholes in the road, but no doubt about it, the future is looking a lot brighter. We see this reflected in major GDP forecasts, which I report here.
Bruce Yandle | Aug 29, 2014
In the June Situation report, I promised a better second-half economy. I did more than keep my promise. The first estimate for 2Q2014 GDP growth brought a steaming 4.0 percent, along with an upward revision of lQ2014’s growth from minus 2.9 percent to minus 2.1 percent. We swung high after swinging low.
Bruce Yandle | May 29, 2014
Have you ever had a car break down just as you felt you were beginning to get somewhere? And had to get out and hitchhike, hoofing it while hoping for a ride? If so, you know what it’s like to have your speed reduced to a crawl and to be hoping for a better ride. That’s the current situation with the economy.

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

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.
Sep 05, 2012

f we unlocked our known reserves, the United States would become one of the world's largest oil producers. Gasoline prices would head south. Instead of unlocking our supply of gasoline, Washington politicians responding to environmental concerns have cut it back.
May 01, 2012

Several key economic reports will come out this week including the Institute for Supply Management indexes, auto sales, construction spending, and the monthly job numbers. After Friday's announcement of the first estimate for first quarter gross domestic product growth generated some interesting news headlines, it's easy to see why someone might be confused about how the economy is doing.
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