An Economic Theory of Censorship

J. Gregory Sidak
Content Type
Working Paper
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Legal criticism of broadcast regulation typically starts by demonstrating the paradoxically disparate treatment of print media and broadcast media under the First Amendment. In contrast, economic criticism typically starts by demonstrating that the scarcity of the electromagnetic spectrum, to the questionable extent that it exists, does not distinguish broadcasting from any other medium of communications for which the essential factors of production are privately owned and ordered. Each line of criticism is powerful. And each continues to the current day to appear again and again in court challenges to broadcast regulation. It is more useful, however, to model broadcast regulation in terms of the creation and dissipation of rent.
Economics, Government, Human Rights
Political Geography
United States