Legislators v. Regulators: The Case of Low Power FM Radio
Thomas W. Hazlett
George Mason University Dept. of Economics and School of Law
Bruno E. Viani
Nathan Associates; CENTRUM-Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper No. 02-1
The recent Federal Communications Commission rule making for low power FM radio has been widely reported as an instance where Congress sharply rebuked the Commission for enacting rules too favorable to entrants. Because rival policy optima are quantifiable in this case, the preferences of consumers, Congress and the Commission can be directly compared. While differences in policy preferences of Congress and the regulatory agency were visible to interest groups, they appear extremely modest when compared to the open entry (welfare maximizing) policy alternative. A financial event study reveals that incumbent broadcast station equity values were neither threatened by the Commission's low power FM rules, nor materially enhanced by their reversal in Congress. This lends empirical support to the Congressional Dominance view of regulation, and illustrates the margins on which blame - and credit - shifting strategies are utilized by policy makers.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
JEL Classification: H1, H8, L5, N4working papers series
Date posted: March 26, 2002
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