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The Fallacy of Regulatory Symmetry: An Economic Analysis of the 'Level Playing Field' in Cable TV Franchising Statutes

Business and Politics, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 21-46, 2001

26 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2010  

Thomas W. Hazlett

Clemson University

George S. Ford

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

Formal regulatory parity can entail counterintuitive effects. In a series of state statutes, municipal governments have been directed to issue cable TV franchises to new competitors only after (a) formal hearings considering the ‘public interest’ in competition; and (b) imposing terms and conditions which are at least as burdensome as those contained in the incumbent’s franchise. While billed as ‘level playing field’ laws, economic theory, an important case study in Connecticut, and a probit analysis of Ameritech’s cable franchise acquisition strategy suggest that these statutes actually tilt the field against entrants.

Keywords: Level Playing Field, Cable TV, Television, Franchising, Entry Deterrence

JEL Classification: L5

Suggested Citation

Hazlett, Thomas W. and Ford, George S., The Fallacy of Regulatory Symmetry: An Economic Analysis of the 'Level Playing Field' in Cable TV Franchising Statutes (2001). Business and Politics, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 21-46, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1674533

Thomas W. Hazlett

Clemson University ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States
8646563430 (Phone)
8646564192 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://hazlett.people.clemson.edu/

George S. Ford (Contact Author)

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States

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