Reorganization of Economists at the FCC

The Role of Decision Rights, Control Systems, and Culture
June 6, 2021

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established a separate Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) in December 2018 to promote more consistent quality and use of economic analysis in its decisions. The agency’s reorganization concentrated economists who previously were dispersed across different offices and bureaus. This paper describes key organizational choices that were made in the period preceding and soon after the establishment of OEA. We show how these decisions – which relate to decision rights, formal control systems, and informal practices and procedures – are consistent with organizational theory and practice. We also draw lessons from the FCC’s experience that may apply to those tasked with managing economists and other specialized or technical staff in large and/or complex organizations.