Rev Ind Organ (2007) 31:107–120
Economics at the Federal Communications
Michelle Connolly · Evan Kwerel
Published online: 16 November 2007
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007
Abstract This article focuses on media ownership and spectrum auction design.
These two issues have not only been particularly important at the Federal Communi-
cations Commission (FCC) over the last year, but also are being informed by economic
analysis either completed at the FCC or commissioned by the FCC.
Keywords Content diversity · Economic experiments · Localism · Media
ownership · News programming · Package bidding · Public affairs
programming · Simultaneous multiple-round (SMR) auction · Spectrum
auction design · Viewpoint diversity
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the responsibility for regulating
U.S. communications consistent with statutory objectives. Its jurisdiction includes
the wireline, cable, satellite, broadcasting and wireless communications industries.
FCC economists have the responsibility to analyze the economic efﬁciency of policy
proposals and help develop more efﬁcient alternatives.
Major issues that have been at the forefront this year at the FCC include –mergers,
spectrum auctions, public safety communications, the universal service fund, media
ownership, broadband deployment, and local franchising. Here we will focus on dis-
cussing the economics that have been called upon to help inform policy-making within
the FCC for media ownership and spectrum auction design. To the extent that rule
M. Connolly · E. Kwerel
Federal Communications Commission, Washington DC 20554, USA
M. Connolly (
Department of Economics, Duke University, Room 213 Social Sciences, Durham NC 27708, USA