Connolly was named to the post on Tuesday.
An expert in international trade, growth and development, Connolly has been part of the Duke faculty since 1997. She also worked one year as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.
"I am pleased Michelle has agreed to serve in the critical role of Chief Economist," said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. "Her talent and expertise will be a great asset for the Commission and will strengthen our policy-making."
Connolly is Director of the EcoTeach and an associate professor at Duke. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics at Yale.
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