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Communications Policy in the Era of Choice and Convergence<br> with Reflections on the Markle Foundation

Oct 1997
Working Paper
492
By  Roger Noll, Monroe Price
In the 1960s, technological progress caused the technologies of communications media to begin to converge. Convergence enhanced the prospects for competition in the media, promising consumers more choices—but only if historically anticompetive policies could be reversed. As the era of convergence with choice was dawning, Lloyd Morrisett became the President of the John and Mary Markle Foundation, and immediately changed the focus of the Foundation's program from medical reserach to communications policy. This essay traces both the history of technology and policy in communications, and the closely related activities of the foundation, during the Morrisett presidency, from September 1969 to December 1997. As such, the essay provides both an intellectual history of policy research in communications and a chronicle of how a relatively small but well-managed foundation can have a major impact in an important area of public policy.