The Role of Analysis in Regulatory Decisionmaking
The Case of Cable Television
Views of the part played by economic analysis in FCC adoption of rules governing cable TV, by (1) the National Cable Television Association's general counsel, (2) the National Association of Broadcasters' research vice-president, (3) the Office of Telecommunications Policy's chief economist, (4) a consultant professor, (5) the FCC planning staff director, (6) one Brookings analyst who filed comments in the public interest, and (7) another who analyzed all the economic studies for the FCC, with (8) a summarizing statement by RAND economist Park. All agree that analysis proved less a tool for the decisionmaker than a weapon for the contending parties. Although the Commissioners never actually studied them, the reports established a framework for discussion and affected the eventual compromise by strengthening perceptions of cable's possible benefits and damping excessive fears of its possible harm. Appended are a brief history of cable TV and a chronology.