Tag Archives: Sarah Oh

IEP Scholar Sarah Oh’s Paper on the Effects of the Discount Rate and Urbanicity on E-rate Funds


IEP Scholar Sarah Oh has written a paper entitled Effects of the Discount Rate and Urbanicity on E-rate Funds from 1998-2012. The abstract from the paper reads as follows:

Broadband in schools has been financially supported by the E-rate program for over fifteen years in the United States. Although prior studies have measured impacts  of demographic criteria on fund distribution, this study focuses on the discount rate and urbanicity type of schools and students on priority 2 internal connections funds from 1998-2012. Funds aggregated by state are regressed on average discount rates of fund recipients. Funds are also regressed  on  the  number  of  city,  suburb,  town,  and  rural  schools  and  students  per  state. Treatments are defined to include and exclude New York, California, and Texas, three states with the largest share of funds. The effect of the discount rate is statistically significant in both treatments. The effect of urbanicity is statistically significant for city schools and city students over all states, but this effect becomes insignificant when excluding New York, California, and Texas. A quasi-experiment on data from FY2010, a year when the FCC waived the discount rate criteria, also supports these results.


The full paper can be downloaded here:

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Hazlett, Oh, and Skorup on the Effects of Prohibiting Handset Bundling in Finland and Belgium


Thomas Hazlett joined IEP Scholars Sarah Oh and Brent Skorup in authoring a paper studying the effects of laws passed in Finland and Belgium prohibiting the bundling of cell phones with 3G wireless broadband plans. The paper compares 3G subscribership rates in these countries with other European countries that did not place such a ban on bundling. This ban on vertical integration can have negative effects on consumer welfare, as shown by a slow 3G penetration rate while the bans were in place, followed by rapid expansion upon repeal of the laws.

The full paper, entitled Natural Experiments in Mobile Phone Regulation: Estimated Effects of Prohibiting Handset Bundling in Finland and Belgium, can be downloaded here.

Exactitude in Defining Rights: Radio Spectrum and the ‘Harmful Interference’ Conundrum


Berkeley Technology Law Journal Vol. 28, 2013, George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-55.  Thomas W. Hazlett, Professor of Law & Economics, George Mason University School of Law, Sarah Oh, Research Fellow, Information Economy Project, and Ph.D. Student, George Mason University Department of Economics.

In the century since the Radio Act of 1912 initiated U.S. spectrum allocation rules, a precise definition of “harmful interference” – the control of which forms the rationale for regulation – has eluded policymakers. In one sense, that result is unsurprising; rights are always defined incompletely. In another sense, however, the regulatory system is dysfunctional, severely limiting the productive use of spectrum while locked down in years-long border disputes. These disagreements have, in turn, triggered calls to develop brighter lines and fuller engineering specifications of “harmful interference.” Yet, spectrum use rights featuring technically fuzzy borders, awarded in economically efficient bundles, generate robust market development. The key ingredients are (a) exclusive, flexible use rights; (b) frequency borders set via standardized edge emission limits; (c) large bundles of complementary rights, limiting fragmentation; and (d) fluid secondary trading, allowing mergers to end border disputes by eliminating borders. Regulators should focus less on delineating precise interference contours, and instead expeditiously distribute standard bandwidth rights to economically responsible agents, taking care to avoid undue fragmentation (and tragedy of the anti-commons). These lessons are illustrated in many episodes, including those involving reallocation of the broadcast TV band, the emergence of HD radio, the Nextel/public safety “spectrum swap,” and the ongoing WCS/SDARS dispute. Each instance reveals that economic incentives, not engineering complexity, drives productive coordination of radio spectrum use – or blocks it.

BTLJ Download: http://btlj.org/data/articles/28_1/0227-0340_Hazlett_081313_WEB.pdf
SSRN Download: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2135098

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