Call for Papers, 2005 Telecommunications Policy Research Conference

This Commentary is a bit off the typical Pew Internet path, but I’d like to call our readers’ attention to the Call for Papers for the 33rd Annual Telecommunications Policy Research Conference. The conference dates for 2005 are Friday, September 23, through Sunday, September 25, and TPRC will be held in Arlington, Virginia at the George Mason University Law School. The deadline to submit paper proposals for the 2005 TPRC is March 31.

TPRC has a long and distinguished history. The initial TPRC, held in 1972, was the brainchild of staffers in the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy. Check out a history of the conference for more on TPRC’s origins. Back then, Ma Bell was the monopoly telephone provider in the United States, with a few upstarts on the horizon such as MCI. Emerging competitive pressures in the industry prompted the group of economists, and some lawyers, to hold TPRC as a way to bring cutting edge academic research into the policy discussions on how to address these pressures.

That spirit is very much part of TPRC today. The conference brings academics and other researchers together with policymakers for a meeting of the minds. Researchers – of all disciplinary stripes – present policy-relevant research to an audience of other researchers and policymakers (from the Federal Communications Commission, federal agencies, Capitol Hill, and other levels of government). For their part, policymakers not only get a chance to learn about and critique the latest research on telecom policy, but also to communicate to the research community the type of research that would be most relevant to the problems they face. TPRC has also taken on an increasingly international flavor in recent years; researchers from Europe, Canada, Asia, and Mexico have made fascinating contributions to TPRC in recent years.

A final note – one or more staffers from the Pew Internet Project has presented a paper, based on Pew Internet data, since the project’s inception in 2000. It has been a nice forum to play out some of the policy implications of our work and get new research ideas – all in an informal environment before a high-quality audience of researchers and policy types. You can learn more about TPRC here.