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Selling Spectrum Rights

  • John McMillan

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

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 8 (1994)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 145-162

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:8:y:1994:i:3:p:145-62
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.8.3.145
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  1. Wilson, Robert, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 511-18, October.
  2. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1988. "Multidimensional incentive compatibility and mechanism design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 335-354, December.
  3. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  4. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1986. "Bidding for Contracts: A Principal-Agent Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 326-338, Autumn.
  5. Milgrom, Paul, 1989. "Auctions and Bidding: A Primer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  6. Jean-Jaques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Auctioning Incentive Contracts," Working papers 403, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
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