FCC to launch new Economics/Analytics Office.

The Commission voted this week to establish an Office of Economics and Analytics, which will bring together their existing economist positions into one office with four divisions—Economic Analysis, Industry Analysis, Auctions, and Data. Commenting on the party-line 3-2 vote, Chairman Pai said, “I look forward to this change, which is the first official step toward remedying [several problems in the way economists work at the Commission]… The OEA will provide Commissioners with a memorandum discussing economic issues implicated by all circulated items. And we’ll now conduct a rigorous cost-benefit analysis for rulemakings estimated to have over $100 million of economic impact.”

Commissioner Mignon Cliburn, who voted against the measure, said, “One might conclude that the Commission is laser-focused on integrating neutral economic analysis into the work of this agency, [but] what the current administration is actually doing is putting in place a mechanism to justify its own interests, while disregarding any analysis that runs counter to their view.”

The other dissenter, Jessica Rosenworcel, expressed concern about the lack of an objective analysis of the analyzers: “How many people will be agency have in this office? Are we talking about 50 or 100 or 150? No one will answer.”