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FCC issues plan on new economics office

The US FCC has issued a plan for a new Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA), part of reforms for the agency in organisational structures, authorities, and practices “to better incorporate economic analysis as well as data management as part of the agency’s regular operation”.  The FCC says that economists and economic analysis are not systematically incorporated in policymaking – “Economists already make critical contributions to key activities of the Commission, including in auction design, rule-makings, data analysis, transactions review, enforcement actions, and adjudications. However, economists are not uniformly involved in all economically relevant rulemakings. Further, economists often are not involved at the early stages of policy development when their insights can be especially relevant.” It further says that economists work in silos, and cross-bureau or cross-agency coordination is limited and data are not systematically managed to inform policymaking. The FCC produces approximately ten statutorily required reports and maintains more than 400 data sets. “There is much potential value in establishing an ability to compare and cross-reference these data sets. For example, data on ownership, spectrum holdings, and various other important factors may be easily accessible and sufficiently understood by the bureaus that collect this information, but not to other economists or policymakers outside these bureaus, who may require the data for other purposes.” It says the challenge of organising a regulatory agency to effectively use its economists is not unique to the FCC. “In meetings with experts in other agencies and in reviewing the literature, a common observation was that this challenge is both widespread across federal regulatory agencies and recurrent. We also learned that, at a general level, the organisation of economists can be considered along a continuum with two contrasting paradigms: a centralised model in which the economists are concentrated in their own sub-unit, and a disaggregated model in which the economists are widely dispersed among the various operating units of an agency.” Read more

  • Tuesday, 23 January 2018

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