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Research Roundup #4

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We’re well into another sweltering summer here in the District, with policy debates that seem to raise the mercury even higher. Take a few minutes to cool down with a crisp, refreshing study from the authors below. Don’t miss the Vigdor and Ladd piece, which provocatively argues that “students who gain access to a home computer between 5th and 8th grade tend to witness a persistent decline in reading and math test scores.” Readers with a mind for engineering over economics may prefer Bauer, Clark, and Lehr’s thorough analysis of “speed” definition and measurement in “high-speed Internet access.” And of course there are a few articles for the lawyer in all of us, including two on intellectual property rights.

(Click through to the full post to see the list of papers and abstract excerpts)

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Meaningful Use Rule: Just the Beginning of Tightening Regulation of Electronic Health Records

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Yesterday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its long-awaited rule specifying the requirements that physicians and other health care providers must meet in order to qualify for roughly $19 billion in federal subsidies for electronic health records. But the issuance of the rule, which runs 864 pages, will not end widespread concern about a lack of clarity of the required criteria. In its proposed meaningful use rule, issued in January, CMS set forth numerous measures for hospitals and physicians to show they were using electronic records to […]

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President Obama’s Spectrum Announcement

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The Obama Administration announced last week that it is adopting as Administration policy the spectrum portion of the FCC’s broadband plan.  This announcement is important because it will take a concerted effort on the part of the Administration to achieve the goals of the plan – i.e., to free up 500 MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband, primarily from reluctant federal agencies and broadcasters.  The spectrum initiative is arguably the most important part of the broadband plan.  (For another discussion of some of the options for increasing spectrum for broadband, […]

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ADD and the FCC

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The deadline for comments regarding the Comcast/NBCU merger has come and gone, resulting in over 10,000 filings from a wide variety of groups.  From fears over loss of diversity to concerns over media localism, many commenters seem to see the process as a vehicle for their favorite causes rather than as a review of the effects of the merger itself. In light of this, it seems like a good time to highlight the recent TPI paper by James Speta, “Screening and Simplifying the Competition Arguments in the NBC/Comcast Transaction.”  In […]

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Research Roundup #3

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Today’s Roundup features a variety of papers from authors at organizations ranging from law schools and university economics departments to the research arm of a major investment bank.  Note the paper by Grimes and Ren, which offers a rare empirical analysis of high speed Internet access and firm productivity.  In addition, two articles discuss web search and social network data as tools for economic study (under the heading below of “Tech and Macroeconomics”). (Click through to the full post to see the list of papers and abstract excerpts)

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The FCC Tries to Find Its Way

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Three months after the Comcast decision the FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) asking, basically, “what should we do now?”  Not being a lawyer, I have a difficult time understanding, let alone caring, whether the FCC’s regulatory authority derives from Title I or Title II.  As an economist, however, I do care about the content of proposed regulations. So what problem does this NOI seek to solve?  It does not propose directly any new rules industry must follow.  Instead, it seeks a framework in which the FCC can regulate […]

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The Case of Newspapers

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The Office of Policy Planning at the FTC has just issued the “Federal Trade Commission Staff Discussion Draft: Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism.” This is a very strange document. It is written by “FTC staff in the Office of Policy Planning” but we cannot tell who actually wrote the draft. Moreover, no reason is given for writing the document. It is not a research paper (of the sort written in the Bureau of Economics) and there is no indication that it has been written in response […]

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Fear of Drug Information

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The Internet has opened huge number of possibilities for information and communication.  As the medium evolves, clever people are continually finding new applications.  But as soon as someone comes up with a new way of using the web, we can be sure that “privacy advocates” will quickly be along to warn against the “dangers” of this application. One relatively new way in which people are using the Internet is that patients with particular medical conditions are able to find and communicate with each other.  A recent New York Times article […]

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Research Roundup #2

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It’s time for another edition of the Research Roundup, with a fresh set of papers by authors outside of TPI. In recent weeks we’ve seen a wealth of articles relating to patent and copyright, so today’s group is a bit heavy on intellectual property. Additionally, a few interesting papers deal with online business models. Take a look.

(Click through to the full post to see the list of papers and abstract excerpts)

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Social Networking Privacy Practices – Giving Behavioral Advertising a Good Name

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Ever since Facebook introduced its new personalization programs, users, privacy groups, and lawmakers have complained that Facebook’s privacy controls are overly complex and change too frequently.  Thus, users who are not sufficiently alert may unintentionally release personal information to people who shouldn’t have that information.  A lot of people are rapidly becoming more alert. In response to the flurry of criticism and, perhaps, to forestall government action, Facebook just announced that it will introduce new privacy controls that it hopes will be more transparent and easier to navigate. Google, faced […]

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