The Work, the Vision, the Man, the Legacy…

Harvey J. Levin:
Pioneering the economics of the airwaves

Communications Economist, Author, Professor, Consultant
Orbit spectrum ownership and regulation, allocation of broadcast frequencies

"In 1971 Resources for the Future funded and published a book calling for the government to create a market for radio spectrum licenses, rather than just giving them away. After all, said the author, Harvey J. Levin, the airwaves are a scarce resource, and they are no less susceptible than rivers or roads to overuse or congestion. Because the Federal Communications Commission was allocating spectrum space bureaucratically, incumbent broadcasters had no reasons to economize or innovate, while newcomers were often locked out. Levin, an economist, proposed ‘a regulated market-type system with prices.’ And the government took Levin’s advice – in the mid-1990s, when the FCC finally began auctioning off broadcast frequencies. Well, it only took a generation."

National Journal, "Ideas Change the World," Jonathan Rauch, October 5, 2002
Atlantic Monthly, October 8, 2002
Social Studies Commentary, October 4, 2002
Reasonline: Free Minds and Free Markets, October 7, 2002

Introductory Message and Overview

Personal Papers of Telecommunications Pioneer Donated to Columbia Institute for Tele-Information and Hofstra University
Professional Bio and Summary of Work
Papers and Publications

Main Page
The Invisible Resource

Harvesting the Invisible Resource

Papers of Communications Economics Pioneer On Exhibit

Guide to the Harvey J. Levin Papers


Personal Tributes
Harvey J. Levin Public Policy Workshop

Additional Personal Papers and Related Materials

Index of Colleagues
Search the Site
Related Issues and Events
Related Organizations
Share Your Comments or Request Information

"Levin concluded that market-like mechanisms, rather than administrative hearings, would better allocate the increasingly crowded electromagnetic spectrum, or airwaves, to their myriad uses (ranging from radio, TV, and everyday telecommunications to wildlife tracking, astronomy, garage door openers, and national defense). Levin’s research paved the way for a change of heart at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which in early 1995 conducted its first auctions of portions of the spectrum. By 1997, auctions had brought in more than $22 billion and, more important, according to the Economic Report of the President for that year, the auctions got spectrum ‘quickly into the hands of service providers’ and ‘rapidly promoted the use of innovative, advanced telecommunications technologies throughout the country’… In 1997, the U.S. Congress included a demonstration program for space transportation vouchers in its appropriations bill for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Much of the inspiration… was inspired by Levin’s research. The field of space economics and policy has grown from one or two economists during Levin’s career to include scholars at Cal Tech, MIT, the Wharton School, and other institutions."

-- Molly K. Macauley, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
50th Anniversary Symposium, October 15, 2002

Affiliate of
Media Reform Network


Recipient of

from the
International Association of Web Masters and Designers




* * * * * C U R R E N T   E V E N T S * * * * *

New Economy Policy Forum (Financial Times)
Spectrum Policy (New America Foundation)
Space Policy (Resources for the Future)
Telecommunications Policy (Columbia Institute for Tele-Information)
Spectrum Resource Optimization (Journal of Communications and Networks)
Reflections (Resources, RFF)
Revisiting The Invisible Resource: Use and Regulation of the Radio Spectrum (Resources, RFF)
Books referencing The Invisible Resource
It's Official: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Plans to Destroy Net Neutrality (Free Press)
Why the Courts Will Have to Save Net Neutrality (New York Times)
Investigation of fake net neutrality foes has been stymied by the FCC, New York attorney general says (Washington Post)
FCC Plans Net Neutrality Repeal in a Victory for Telecoms (New York Times)
US telecoms regulator unveils sweeping plans to dismantle net neutrality (Guardian)
FCC Votes To Begin Rollback Of Net Neutrality Regulations (National Public Radio)
Big Win on Net Neutrality (Common Cause)
In Net Neutrality Victory, F.C.C. Classifies Broadband Internet Service as a Public Utility (New York Times)
How the Christian Coalition and MoveOn Helped Save Net Neutrality: A Buried Story of a Powerful Coalition
(Huffington Post)
The Net Neutrality Battle Has Been Lost. But now we can finally win the war (Slate)
The Battle for Net Neutrality (
The Fallout from Wheeler's "Bright-Line" Net Neutrality Rules (Politico)
In Net Neutrality Plan, FCC Chief Sees Internet Service Regulated as Public Utility (New York Times)
Save the Internet (Common Cause)
The End of the Internet as We Know It?  (Common Cause)
Help the Internet Stay Open (Common Cause)
The Courts Can't Take Away Our Internet (Free Press)
Court rules for Comcast over FCC in 'net neutrality' case (Washington Post)
Stand Up for Internet Freedom (Common Cause)
Special Interests Have Invested a Billion Dollars in Telecommunications Policy (Common Cause)
Internet freedom is under attack (
Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Telecom Industry Front Groups and Astroturf (Common Cause)
Senators Mull an Internet with Restrictions  (Nation)
Keep the Internet Open  (Common Cause)
TV Station Owners Rush to Seize on Relaxed F.C.C. Rules (New York Times)
FCC OKs controversial media-ownership rule (Associated Press)
26 Senators promise to support bill to "revoke and nullify" FCC media consolidation rules (U.S. Senators)
Flawed Media Plan (New York Times)
The Bottom Line: America Doesn't Want Bigger Media (
Media Consolidation (Common Cause)
Rupert Murdoch may get to own TV stations and newspapers in same city (
Be concerned about Rupert Murdoch (Consumers Union in Seattle Times)
Big Media Getting Even Bigger (Common Cause)
Big Media Companies Want to Get Bigger, Again (Common Cause)
Special Interests Have Invested a Billion Dollars in Telecommunications Policy (Common Cause)
Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006 (Common Cause)
National Conference for Media Reform (Free Press Media Reform Network)
Take the Blinders Off Our First Responders (Common Cause)
Cable Ownership Reform (Common Cause)
Uncovering Radio Monopolies: The FCC's Deregulation (past and present)
Court Rejects Media Ownership Rules: Provides Citizens With Voice in Ownership Debate
(Free Press Media Reform Network)
Major Victory on FCC Rules (
Court Overturns Media Ownership Rules (Common Cause)
Reformers Open New Front On Media Campaign (Common Cause)
Comcast-Disney: Coming Soon to Every Screen Near You? (Common Cause)
FCC Overexposed? (Common Cause)
Indecency and the FCC (
The Fight to Reverse the FCC (Free Press Media Reform Network)
Oppose FCC plan to deregulate media ownership (Common Cause)
Media Consolidation Alert and Chronology (July-November 2003)
Victory in House of Representatives against media monopoly (
FCC rule change roll back (Common Cause and Free Press)
FCC action alert: Senate takes the first step (Common Cause)
Critical Senate Vote on Media Consolidation (Common Cause)
Congress vs. the FCC (
Fight FCC's media consolidation (
New Rules Give Big Media Chance to Get Even Bigger (New York Times)
Monopoly or Democracy? (Washington Post)
FCC Plan to Alter Media Rules Spurs Growing Debate (Washington Post)
Advertising Campaign Against Murdoch as U.S. Media Ownership Laws Face Relaxation (Guardian)
Harvey J. Levin website's letter to FCC and elected officials re: media deregulation 
Books referencing Dr. Levin's work
Save NPR and PBS (
Beyond Reason on the Budget (New York Times)
Bush Proposes Steep Cut to PBS Funding (TV Week)
New Bite Sought Out of Corporation for Public Broadcasting (Los Angeles Times)
Save NPR and PBS (again) (
National Conference for Media Reform (Free Press Media Reform Network)
Internet freedom is under attack (
Opening Up Public Broadcasting
(Common Cause)
This time, it's for real: Save NPR and PBS (
Put the 'Public' back in 'Broadcasting' (Free Press Media Reform Network)
In Nixon's Shadow (Common Cause)
Hands Off NPR and PBS (Common Cause)
Good News from CPB Hearings (Common Cause)
Senate Votes on Future of Public Television (Common Cause)
Senate Hearing on Public Broadcasting (Common Cause)
CPB Playing Politics with Public Broadcasting (Common Cause)
Disney Decides What You Should See (Common Cause)
Gagging Ted Koppel (Common Cause)
The Ghost of Nixon Haunting Public Broadcasting? (Common Cause)
First Victory for Public Broadcasting (Common Cause)
Trouble Ahead for Public Broadcasting (Common Cause)
Censorship at CBS (
CBS Censors Winning Ad (
Public Broadcasting as Political Weapon? (Common Cause)

Harvey J. Levin on Wikipedia
80th Anniversary of Dr. Levin's birthday (July 1, 2004)
Tributes to Dr. Levin and his work on his 80th birthday anniversary
Reflections (Resources, RFF)
 Revisiting The Invisible Resource: Use and Regulation of the Radio Spectrum (Resources, RFF)
Books referencing The Invisible Resource
New literary works on Dr. Levin's career completed
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