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Analyzing the Airwaves Auction

Author

Listed:
  • R. Preston McAfee
  • John McMillan

Abstract

The design of the Federal Communications Commission spectrum license auction is a case study in the application of economic theory. Auction theory helped address policy questions such as whether an open auction or a sealed-bid auction should be used; whether the licenses should be auctioned sequentially or simultaneously; whether the government should allow bids for combinations of licenses or accept only single-license bids; how the auction should should be structured to promote the interests of minority-owned and other designated firms; whether the government should impose royalties or reserve prices; and how much the bidders should be informed about their competition.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:1:p:159-75
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.1.159
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.10.1.159
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Menezes, Flavio M., 1996. "Multiple-unit English auctions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 671-684, December.
    2. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1989. "Government procurement and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 291-308, May.
    3. Carolyn Pitchik & Andrew Schotter, 1988. "Perfect Equilibria in Budget-Constrained Sequential Auctions: An Experimental Study," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 363-388, Autumn.
    4. Jeffrey S. Banks & John O. Ledyard & David P. Porter, 1989. "Allocating Uncertain and Unresponsive Resources: An Experimental Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 1-25, Spring.
    5. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
    7. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
    8. Rosenthal, Robert W. & Wang, Ruqu, 1996. "Simultaneous Auctions with Synergies and Common Values," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 32-55, November.
    9. Michael H. Rothkopf & Aleksandar Pekev{c} & Ronald M. Harstad, 1998. "Computationally Manageable Combinational Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1131-1147, August.
    10. Christopher Avery, 1998. "Strategic Jump Bidding in English Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 185-210.
    11. 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 529-575, October.
    12. Robert Wilson, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 511-518.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D45 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Rationing; Licensing

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