Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Collusive Bidding in the FCC Spectrum Auctions

Contents:

Author Info

Abstract

This paper describes the signaling that occurred in many of the FCC spectrum auctions. The FCC's simultaneous ascending auctions allowed bidders to bid on numerous communication licenses simultaneously, with bidding remaining open on all licenses until no bidder was willing to raise the bid on any license. Simultaneous open bidding allowed bidders to send messages to their rivals, telling them on which licenses to bid and which to avoid. This "code bidding" occurs when one bidder tags the last few digits of its bid with the market number of a related license. Such bids can help bidders coordinate a division of the licenses, and enforce the proposed division through targeted punishments. Often the meaning of a bid is clear without attaching a market number in the trailing digits. Such a "retaliating bid" need not end in a market number to warn off a rival from a contested market. We examine how extensively bidders signaled each other with retaliating bids and code bids in the DEF-block PCS spectrum auction held from August 1996 through January 1997. We find that only a small fraction of the bidders commonly used these signals. The price differences between those markets where signaling did and did not occur were negligible. However, bidders that used these collusive bidding strategies won more than 40% of the spectrum for sale and paid significantly less for their overall winnings, suggesting that the indirect losses from code bidding and retaliation may be large.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers2000-2004/cramton-schwartz-collusive-bidding.pdf
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton in its series Papers of Peter Cramton with number 02collude.

as in new window
Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 04 Dec 2002
Date of revision: 04 Dec 2002
Publication status: Published in Contributions to Economic Analysis & Policy, 1:1, www.bepress.com/bejeap/contributions/vol1/iss1/art11, 2002.
Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:02collude

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Economics Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7211
Phone: (202) 318-0520
Fax: (202) 318-0520
Web page: http://www.cramton.umd.edu

Related research

Keywords: Auctions; Collusion; Multiple Object Auctions; Spectrum Auctions;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Brusco, Sandro & Lopomo, Giuseppe, 2002. "Collusion via Signalling in Simultaneous Ascending Bid Auctions with Heterogeneous Objects, with and without Complementarities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 407-36, April.
  2. Graham, Daniel A & Marshall, Robert C, 1987. "Collusive Bidder Behavior at Single-Object Second-Price and English Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1217-39, December.
  3. Paul Milgrom, 2000. "Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 245-272, April.
  4. Marshall, R.C. & Richard J.F., 1995. "Bider Collusion at Forest Service Timber Sales," Papers 7-95-3, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  5. Ausubel Lawrence M & Milgrom Paul R, 2002. "Ascending Auctions with Package Bidding," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-44, August.
  6. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jemsfcc, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 12 Jul 1998.
  7. Susan Athey & Kyle Bagwell & Chris Sanchirico, 2004. "Collusion and Price Rigidity," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 317-349, 04.
  8. Cramton, Peter C, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 267-343, Summer.
  9. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1997. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 497-527, 09.
  10. Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, 2000. "Collusive Bidding: Lessons from the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 00jre, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Mar 1999.
  11. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo, 1999. "Collusion via Signalling in Open Ascending Auctions with Multiple Objects and Complementarities," Working Papers 99-05, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  12. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1995. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpdr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 22 Jul 2002.
  13. Robert J. Weber, 1997. "Making More from Less: Strategic Demand Reduction in the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 529-548, 09.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  15. Duan, Naihua, et al, 1983. "A Comparison of Alternative Models for the Demand for Medical Care," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-26, April.
  16. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Charles M. Kahn, 2005. "Low-Revenue Equilibria in Simultaneous Ascending-Bid Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 508-518, March.
  17. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
  18. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  19. Mailath, George J. & Zemsky, Peter, 1991. "Collusion in second price auctions with heterogeneous bidders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 467-486, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:02collude. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Cramton).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.