Staff at the FCC: How Many Lawyers, Economists, and Engineers?

The FCC’s professional staff is dominated by lawyers, and the agency wants to increase its numbers of economists and engineers. How does the FCC’s staffing compare to telecommunications regulatory agencies of other countries?

Economist and former FCC Senior Adviser J. Scott Marcus makes this comparison in a new paper. He cautions that his results are indicative, rather than conclusive. It’s hard to compare some agencies because, depending on the country, the same agency that regulates telecommunications may also regulate, say, trains and the postal service.

Figure 5 from the report, below, shows the distribution of professions among professional staff, and shows the predominance of lawyers at the FCC.

Figure 6 is a similar comparison among senior managers; in that role, at the FCC, engineers and economists are basically non-existent.

Marcus observes that the percentage of lawyers in these agencies generally tracks that of the countries as a whole. US society is litigious, so  it may be rational for the FCC to have many lawyers.

This report is also noteworthy for it being the first opportunity for some of these agencies to compile these figures.