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Thursday, December 18, 2003

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Despite the telecom meltdown, the legal profession has enjoyed a financial windfall through telecom deregulation. In a recent article in the Yale Journal on Regulation, J. Gregory Sidak roughly tied the burgeoning transaction costs of deregulation to the number of attorneys enrolled as members of the FCBA. Indeed, Alfred Kahn's latest book (highly compelling, per usual) virtually leads off with the same point. Finally, Randy May elected to validate this theory on the ground, and in a previous posting, described the sordid story of being unable to reach the bar at the FCBA's annual dinner.

But economists need love, too. And with TELRIC back on the front burner, they are getting it in spades. The recent Lexecon report by Kenneth Arrow, Robert Solow, Dennis Carlton, and Gary Becker (on behalf of Verizon) focuses, in large part, on the availability of UNEs at TELRIC-set rates and its deleterious impact on competition. In the current TELRIC proceeding, AT&T has presented the FCC with a series of essays written by William Baumol, and Georgetown B-School Dean John Mayo, among others, in support of TELRIC. This, of course, anticipated the 1286-page bomb that AT&T dropped into the FCC proceedings two days ago, which outverbiaged Ray's comments by only 1275 pages.

All of this which, under a cynical view, may or may not ultimately lead to incremental changes in the TELRIC pricing methodology. Thus, I propose that the term TELRIC be slightly altered to properly reflect its more natural state. To the telecom acronymia I hereby anoint TELREC: Top Economists' Long Run Employment Contracts.

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