For over a century, assessments of competition or the lack thereof have been central to how public policy treats the telecommunications industry. This centrality continues today. Yet, numerous foundational questions about this concept persist. In this paper, we chronicle how the definition of “competition” has evolved in economics and has been applied in the communications arena. The academic literature on competition hits an important inflection point in the mid-20th century with the development of “workable competition”: a term that is equated to “effective competition.” We find that while the concept of “effective competition” is central to policy formation at the FCC, the Commission’s own applications of “effective competition” are inconsistent. Given the centrality of this concept, and its inconsistent applications to date, we draw upon the seminal contributions to the development of the notion of “effective competition” to offer a modern definition suitable for application in 21st century communications markets.
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 2, 2016
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