Wallsten on How to Evaluate Broadband Stimulus Dollars

Wallsten on How to Evaluate Broadband Stimulus Dollars

Contact: Ashley Creel
(202) 828-4405

March 24, 2009 – The recently enacted $7 billion broadband stimulus plan presents a unique opportunity to learn what kinds of broadband subsidies can make a difference, Technology Policy Institute Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow Scott Wallsten explains in a new article. We can learn whether the program funded projects that truly needed funding only by building evaluation into the grant making process itself. The broadband dollars will not be well spent if they fund broadband projects that providers are already undertaking. To be successful, the program should fund broadband projects that nobody would undertake without the subsidy. To determine whether the subsidies truly made a difference, program evaluators need to track projects and firms that do not receive funds as well as those that do. An even better approach would be to introduce some randomization into the grant-making process to facilitate comparisons between “treatment” and “control” groups. The lessons that we learn from a rigorous evaluation can then be applied to other existing and future broadband programs. Wallsten’s paper, “Measuring the Effectiveness of the Broadband Stimulus Plan,” can be found at https://techpolicyinstitute.org.

The Technology Policy Institute

The Technology Policy Institute is a research and educational organization that focuses on the economics of innovation, technological change, and related regulation in the United States and around the world. More information is available at https://techpolicyinstitute.org/

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