Economic Scholars' Summary of Economic Literature Regarding Title II Regulation of the Internet
13 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2017
Date Written: July 17, 2017
We present the findings of economic research regarding the issues surrounding net neutrality and regulation of the internet under Title II of the Communications Act. Our purpose here is to review what has been demonstrated in the economics literature rather than to advocate particular decisions that we believe the Federal Communications Commission should make. We limit this review to articles that use explicit economic models and that appear in higher-level, peer-reviewed economics journals. Beyond these selection criteria, we do not make evaluations of the relative weight that we might individually place on each publication. Economics research on net neutrality has found that the impacts of regulations depend on the conditions in the marketplace. Under various conditions the regulations can be harmful to consumers, harmful to network providers, harmful to content providers, or hinder investment; but there are also conditions under which opposite effects can occur. Overall, most but not all of the articles we found conclude that regulatory restrictions on which advanced features internet service providers can offer can lower economic efficiency. A notable exception is blocking customer access to content that customers find valuable. Such blocking is generally harmful. Existing literature further suggests that today’s internet service providers do not have economic characteristics similar to those telecommunications providers for whom Title II was written.
Keywords: Net Neutrality, Telecommunications, Regulation
JEL Classification: L51, L96
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation