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Irene Wu


Yahoo! Fellow in Residence
Senior Analyst, Policy Division International Bureau Federal Communications Commission


Communication, Culture, and Technology (CCT)
General profile


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Irene S. Wu is Senior Analyst in Policy Division, International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC's International Bureau regulates communications services between the US and other countries.

From 2011-2012 she was research director of the White House Task Force on Smart Disclosure which made recommendations on how US government data can be made more useful for consumers shopping for the best deal in areas such as healthcare, broadband, and environmentally-friendly products.

In the FCC's International Bureau, Dr. Wu has also served as acting chief data officer and research director. She has guided studies on international trends in regulatory policy on telecommunications, Internet, and media, and worked with international groups like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation).

In 2007-2008, she was the first Yahoo! Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where her research focused on change in global values and information technology in Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Dr. Wu has taught in CCT since 2007.

She is author of the book From Iron First to Invisible Hand: the Uneven Path of Telecommunications Policy Reform in China published by Stanford University Press and several articles.

Dr. Wu’s current research examines the effect of new communications technology on the distribution of power among countries and draws on lessons from technology history. Also, she is studying the use of applications such as blogs and wikis for international collective action.

Dr. Wu received her B.A. from Harvard University and Ph.D. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), with additional studies undertaken at the National Taiwan Normal University, University of Puerto Rico, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, China.

From Iron Fist to Invisible Hand: the Uneven Path of Telecommunications Policy Reform in China. Stanford University Press, 2009.

"Maximum impact for minimum subsidy: reverse auctions for universal access in Chile and India." FCC Staff Working Paper 2, October 2010.

“Who regulates phones, television and the Internet? What makes a communications regulator independent and why it matters.” In Perspectives on Politics. American Political Science Association. December 2008.

“Popularity contest: the political attraction of commercially successful communications service technologies.” In Information Technology in Developing Countries, Center for Electronic Governance, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, June 2008.

“The triumphant consumer? VOIP, ‘Little Smart,” and telecom services reform in China.” in Information Technology and International Development Vol. 3, No. 4 (Summer 2006), 53-66.

"Canada, South Korea, Netherlands and Sweden: Regulatory Implications of the Convergence of Telecommunications, Broadcasting, and Internet Services." Telecommunications Policy 28(2004): 79-96.

"Traits of an Independent Regulator: a Search for Indicators." Federal Communications Commission, International Bureau Working Paper Series, No. 1. June 2004.

"Broadband Internet Access in OECD Countries: a Comparative Analysis." With Sherille Ismail. Staff report, Federal Communications Commission. October 2003.


  • PhD () Johns Hopkins University , School of Advanced International Studies
  • A.B. () Harvard University, Social Studies