Economic Analysis and Television Regulation

A Review

by Stanley Besen, Bridger M. Mitchell

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Reviews [Economic Aspects of Television Regulation], by Roger Noll, Merton Peck, and John McGowan, which depicts a tightly regulated television industry that protects the economic position of broadcasters at the expense of increased viewer satisfaction. Its authors call for substantial deregulation. This report evaluates the analytical basis of the major policy positions taken by Noll, Peck, and McGowan. It considers the demand for television programming and examines its empirical measurement. Subsequent sections are devoted to the central economic role of television networks, the requirements imposed by regulatory policy to provide unremunerative services, and the understanding of the behavior of regulators themselves. The report concludes that the authors' major policy judgments do not follow from a comprehensive analysis of the television industry and go beyond what can be substantiated by available research findings.

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