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Federal Trade Commission Chairman William E. Kovacic announced today that Michael R. Baye, director of the Bureau of Economics for the past year and a half, will leave the FTC on December 31 to return to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business to continue his role as professor of business economics and public policy. The director serves as the agency’s chief economist, supervises economic analysis at the Commission, and advises the Commission on economic policy matters.

“I am grateful to Mike for his exceptional work at the FTC, his excellent service, and his outstanding achievements. Mike ensured that the FTC made investments in building knowledge that will serve this agency well for decades to come. We have benefitted greatly from his expertise and his insight, his leadership in much of our policy work, and his invaluable guidance in our litigation matters,” Chairman Kovacic said. “We are most fortunate that Pauline Ippolito will take over as Acting Director of the Bureau.”

Since 1997, Baye has served as the Bert Elwert Professor of Business Economics in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His previous appointments include tenured academic positions at Penn State University and Texas A&M University, and visiting appointments at Cambridge and Oxford universities in the United Kingdom. Baye also has served as an independent consultant on a variety of antitrust and pricing matters for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Canadian Competition Bureau, and private clients ranging from small Internet companies to Fortune 500 firms.

Baye’s academic research applies tools from game theory and industrial organization to examine the impact of various business strategies on consumer welfare and firm profits. His studies of pricing strategies in online and other environments where consumers search for price information have been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Commission; published in leading economics and marketing journals such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Management Science, and the Journal of Political Economy; and featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The New York Times. His research on mergers, auctions, and innovation has been published in such journals as the American Economic Review, the Review of Economic Studies, the Economic Journal, and the Journal of Competition Law & Economics.

While at the FTC, Baye promoted effective interaction of economists in the Bureau of
Economics with attorneys in the Bureaus of Competition and Consumer Protection, ensuring that the Bureau’s economic analysis in support of the FTC’s missions was analytically sound and effectively communicated. He was also the public face of the Bureau and traveled extensively to communicate the FTC’s work through speeches, interviews, writings, and personal outreach to lawyers, economists, the general public, foreign antitrust authorities, universities, and other government agencies. Baye’s expertise in the economics of the Internet was of particular value as the Commission analyzed the Google/DoubleClick merger and other antitrust matters involving the online marketplace, as well as in assessing the policy ramifications of various regulations directed at online behavioral advertising.

During Baye’s tenure, the Bureau sponsored a conference on consumer information and the mortgage market that highlighted and assessed the role of consumer information in the current mortgage crisis from an economic perspective. Baye also enhanced the policy research of the Bureau by establishing and holding the first annual Microeconomics Conference (co-sponsored with Northwestern University’s Searle Center and its Center for the Study of Industrial Organization) to bring together academic scholars working in industrial organization, information economics, game theory, quantitative marketing, consumer behavior, and other areas related to the FTC’s antitrust and consumer protection missions.

Ippolito, a nationally recognized scholar, has held a variety of management and staff positions while serving the FTC with distinction for 30 years. She received the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive, the highest award available to a government executive, for her contributions to improving consumer protection policy for the nation.

Ippolito’s research documents the effects of consumer policy choices on business behavior and consumer welfare. Her work on major policy initiatives has led to improvements in policies for the agency and the nation, as demonstrated by her work on health claims in food advertising and labeling. Her research on resale price maintenance led to changes in antitrust policy, which ultimately has been reflected in Supreme Court jurisprudence. Ippolito has a PhD from Northwestern University.

The Bureau of Economics assists the Commission in evaluating the economic impact of its antitrust and consumer protection actions. The Bureau’s analytical work provides economic advice for enforcement actions, working closely with the bureaus of Competition and Consumer Protection; studies the effects of legislative options and regulations as part of the advocacy program coordinated by the Office of Policy Planning; and analyzes market issues to create economic reports and recommendations on various markets and industries.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(BE Changes 08)

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