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Bootleggers, Baptists, and Televangelists

7 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2008  

Andrew P. Morriss

Texas A&M School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center; George Mason University - Mercatus Center


The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco manufacturers and the attorneys general of 46 states substituted a private agreement for the normal processes of regulation and taxation. They dramatically reduced the public's opportunity to participate in both and to hold accountable those responsible for regulatory burdens and tax increases. The MSA was the product of more than the standard "bootleggers and Baptists" dynamics that often propel regulation. The MSA represented the arrival of a new player that can euphemistically be called the "televangelist" - superstar class-action law firms that initially side with the "Baptists" but whose ultimate goal is a settlement that will deliver them enormous fees and political power.

Keywords: regulation, taxation, tax, barriers, barriers to entry, public choice, public interest, smoking, cigarettes, regulatory authority, tabacco, bootlegger, assumption-of-risk defense

JEL Classification: D4, D43, H1, H10, H11, H2, H20, H25, I1, I18, K1, K13, K2, K20, K23, K3, K32, L6, L66

Suggested Citation

Morriss, Andrew P., Bootleggers, Baptists, and Televangelists. Regulation, Vol. 31, No. 2, Summer 2008; Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 08-33. Available at SSRN:

Andrew P. Morriss (Contact Author)

Texas A&M School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76133
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center ( email )

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United States

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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