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Spectrum Management: Property Rights, Markets, and The Commons

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  • Farber, David J.
  • Faulhaber, Gerald R.
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    Abstract

    Gerald Faulhaber and David Farberconsider alternatives to the current licensing regime for spectrum, which appears to lead to substantial inefficiencies in spectrum allocation.Specifically, they examine two property rights regimes and a commons regime.Theynote that economists have favored a market-based regime while engineers have favored a commons-based regime to promote new technologies. Mr. Faulhaber and Mr. Farbershow that thereis aproperty rights market-based regime that unleashes the power of the market andthe power of the new technologies to efficiently allocate spectrum, and that is likely to meet our needs for the near-term future. This regime resolves the presumed dichotomy between the market-based and the commons-based views, so that both objectives can be realized.The authorsalso outline a transition processfor achieving the desired regime outcome that is a "win-win" for all stakeholders, and that could be politically feasible. The change to a property rights regime is likely to lower the cost of spectrum substantially, in many cases to zero.Mr. Faulhaber and Mr. Farberassert that a commons model and a market model can co-exist, at least until spectrum becomes truly scarce.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 116.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:reg:wpaper:116

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    1. Hazlett, Thomas W, 1998. "Assigning Property Rights to Radio Spectrum Users: Why Did FCC License Auctions Take 67 Years?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 529-75, October.
    2. Coase, Ronald H., 1992. "Autobiography," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1991-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
    3. Hazlett, Thomas W, 1998. "Spectrum Flash Dance: Eli Noam's Proposal for "Open Access" to Radio Waves," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 805-20, October.
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