FCC taps Penn professor for economist role

FCC taps Penn professor for economist role

An academic at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious business school is the Federal Communications Commission’s new chief economist.

Katja Seim will join the commission from the Wharton School in July, the agency said. She is currently an associate professor of business economics and public policy.

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“Given the vital importance of economics to the Commission’s work, it is essential that we have exceptionally-qualified individuals like Professor Katja Seim involved,” said Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement. “In today’s world, it is vital that public policy and business economics are understood as interrelated fields.”

Seim’s work focuses on “how firms make product introduction and entry decisions, how they assess the competitive implications of different market entry strategies, and how public policies and regulatory interventions shape their choices,” according to Wharton.

She also works on nonlinear pricing issues — often in the context of the communications industry.

The chief economist role advises the chairman on a range of issues. The commission frequently employs economic analysis, including merger reviews when it is determining the public interest benefit of a transaction. Seim replaces Jonathan Levy, who was previously serving as the acting chief economist.