“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.
Read “Why Secretary Clinton’s broadband subsidies will fail” on AEI.