FCC Taps IU Prof For Economist Role

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An Indiana University telecommunications professor has been named chief economist for the Federal Communications Commission. David Waterman says he will return to teaching after his one-year term.

November 14, 2014

News Release

Bloomington, Ind. -- David Waterman, professor emeritus of telecommunications in the Media School at Indiana University, has been appointed as chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission.

A faculty member at IU Bloomington since 1993, Waterman has taught and conducted research on the economics of media and information. He is an expert on vertical integration and other aspects of market structure in multichannel television, and on the economics of programming, copyright and Internet video distribution -- topics he will continue to focus on while at the FCC.

"This is a great opportunity for me to have some real influence on policies that I've been writing and teaching about for years," Waterman said. "At the least, I will have plenty to say about them. It’s hard for me to imagine a more interesting time to be there, with the network neutrality debate currently on the commission's plate, along with a number of television and other media issues that are up my alley.

"Research opportunities I've had at IU and interactions with my students here have prepared me for this job," Waterman added. "I have no doubt that my policy immersion at the FCC will inspire my future research and teaching here for years to come."

His appointment as chief economist will begin in January. It will last one year, and Waterman will return to IU afterward.

"His understanding of the communications industries, and of the relationship of market structures to public policy, will allow him to contribute immediately at the FCC," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "Professor Waterman's presence will aid in our effort to beef up the role of economics in FCC decision-making."

"Faculty in the Media School are delighted with the appointment and know that David, with his great intelligence and years of relevant experience, will be a terrific asset to the FCC and, more broadly, to the American public at large," added Walter Gantz, professor and chair of the Department of Telecommunications in the Media School.

Waterman is an author of two books -- "Hollywood's Road to Riches" (2005, Harvard University Press) and "Vertical Integration in Cable Television" (1997; MIT Press) -- and numerous scholarly articles about market structure and public policy toward the media, the economics of motion picture production and distribution.

He has testified before Congress and has been a consultant to the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. General Accounting Office. From 2005 to 2010, he was principal editor of the journal Information Economics and Policy.

Source: Indiana University