FCC’s Economics & Analytics Office Proposal

Under the leadership of Chairman Pai, the FCC just proposed creating an Office of Economics and Analytics. This office would provide an important and systematic feedback during the regulation-making process about whether a real problem exists that regulation could solve, as well as about what the costs and benefits would be of proposed rules and orders. Such feedback is clearly lacking today, not for lack of economists working at the FCC, but because as the chairman noted in a speech in April:

Economists are not systematically incorporated into policy work at the FCC. Instead, their expertise is typically applied in an ad hoc fashion, often late in the process. There is no consistent approach to their use.

In other words, the FCC hires economists but does not always use their specific skills in a systematic way; that is to say to say informing the regulatory decision making process about what we theoretically and empirically know works or doesn’t work, what the expected costs and unintended consequences of rule may be, and whom the…

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