National TV Broadcasting and the rise of the regulatory state

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By Bruce Yandle

ABSTRACT

Using historical, theoretical and empirical arguments, this paper puts forth the notion that it was the rise of US national TV networks in the late 1960s that led to the expansion of federal social regulation and a simultaneous decline of federal economic regulation in the 1970s. The paper argues that national TV networks changed the relative position of national versus local and regional producers and sellers of goods and services. Instead of preferring state and local social regulation, the emerging national firms preferred federal social regulation. Since national markets were emerging, the same national firms lobbied for regulatory reform in transportation and communication services. The rise of national markets associated with national TV networks also stimulated a demand for mergers and consolidations. Data describing these various phenomena are provided in the paper.

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Public Choice
Bruce Yandle is a consultant, writer and speaker on economics and political economy. He is Mercatus Center Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics at George Mason University and participates regulatory in the Center’s Capitol Hill lecture series. Yandle is Dean Emeritus of Clemson University’s College of Business & Behavioral Science and...
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