Intemperate Spirits: Economic Adaptation During Prohibition

ebook and hardcover released August 2019


Using the basic economic principle of making decisions using a cost-benefit framework—and how changes in one or the other can result in a different decision—this book uncovers how various groups responded to incentives provided by the Prohibition legislation. Using this calculus, it is clear that even criminals are rational characters, responding to incentives and opportunities provided by the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act.  The book begins with a broad look at the adaptations of the law’s targets: the wine, beer, and liquor industries.  It then turns to specific people (Violators, Line Tip-Toers, Enablers, and Hypocrites), sharing their stories of economic adaptation to bring economic lessons to life.  Due to its structure, the book can be read in parts or as a whole and is suitable for short classroom reading assignments or individual pleasure reading. 

What are people saying?

“An excellent, entertaining, and economically informed history of alcohol prohibition. While most history ignores the role of the entrepreneurs, here it is highlighted to great effect. A must read for home brewers, American history buffs, and bartenders amongst many others.”

Mark Thornton, Senior Fellow, Mises Institute

“Economics is a powerful tool for understanding the world. Intemperate Spirits illustrates this perfectly by showing, in an informative and entertaining way, how real people responded to America´s ‘Noble Experiment’ in Alcohol Prohibition.”

Nicholas Snow, Visiting Assistant Professor, Wabash College

Buy the book

Intemperate Spirits is available as an ebook or hardcover. You can buy either one here. Enjoy!