A professor at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business has accepted a one-year appointment to serve as chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission. Jeff Prince begins his new role next week, becoming the second IU professor to serve in that role this decade.
The university says Prince studies industrial organization and applied econometrics, with special research interests in technology market demand, telecommunications, and internet adoption and usage.
"I’ve also done a great deal of work on internet measurement, thinking about both demand and supply of services,” said Prince. “The FCC does important data-gathering work on internet service providers, and I could see my prior internet work helping inform that operation.”
Prince has been a faculty member at the Bloomington campus since 2010, teaching business economics. He is also the Harold A. Poling Chair of Strategic Management at Kelley.
IU says Prince is taking a one-year leave from the university to serve in the post, but he remains on the Kelley School faculty.
The veteran business economist says it’s an exciting, but also challenging, time to be at the FCC. Prince says bringing in someone externally with relevant expertise will allow the person to weigh issues objectively.
"Dr. Prince’s wealth of experience and research on the telecommunications market and internet adoption will be of great value to the Office of Economics and Analytics and the entire commission," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. "I’m pleased that Dr. Prince has agreed to join the agency and look forward to his input on the economic aspects of important policy issues such as closing the digital divide and auction design and execution."
IU says Prince is the second IU professor to be appointed as the FCC’s chief economist in recent years. David Waterman, a professor emeritus in the IU Media School, served in this role in 2014-15.
Prince hopes the experience he gains in Washington will be valuable when he returns to the classroom and conducts research.
"As a teacher, nothing brings content to life quite like personal examples of on-the-ground application. I expect this experience will help me better identify where are the margins for change and what types of analysis are most apt to make a difference. I believe such knowledge will be extremely valuable."