Sometimes asking the right question makes all of the difference. In July of this year, my friends and former students at the National Communications Authority of Ghana asked me to speak on the question: “Has digitization redefined the boundaries of market definition?” They didn’t ask if market boundaries change. That would have been too easy. Rather they asked if the boundaries of market definition change. My answer was, “Yes they have! And thus we should rethink market power.”
Welcome to the “10 Candid Career Questions” series, introducing you to the PPP professionals who do the deals, analyze the data, and strategize on the next big thing. Each of them followed a different path into PPP practice, and this series offers an inside look at their backgrounds, motivations, and choices. Each blogger receives the same 15 questions and answers 10 or more that tell their PPP career story candidly and without jargon. We believe you’ll be as surprised and inspired as we were.
Outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has often been criticized for his lack of effective leadership. Politicization, the decline of analytical work, and lack of transparency have plagued the agency. Perhaps the most challenging job for the new chairman will be rebuilding the agency’s credibility, pushing back the political opportunists, and mending the commission’s internal divisions. Fortunately, previous chairmen have provided some lessons on how to do this.
“Finish the job” — Hillary Clinton’s mantra for more broadband subsidies — has a powerful pull: It uses a tactic, sometimes referred to as a motivational Zeigarnik effect, that persuades people to resolve what they feel are incomplete tasks independently of the underlying value of the result. Economist Hal Singer recently paired this tactic with an egalitarian appeal of “broadband access for all” to further advocate for subsidies. But do more subsidies actually finish a job and provide a net benefit? Apparently not. Customers’ spending habits are telling us they have other priorities. Furthermore, people advocating more subsidies for broadband tend to ignore how inefficient the subsidy programs are and exaggerate the benefits of subsidized broadband.