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An economic perspective on auctions

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  • Philippe Jehiel
  • Benny Moldovanu

Abstract

The recent spectrum auctions in Europe have shown that serious problems can arise in auctions where multiple complementary objects are being sold (such as blocks of radio spectrum) that will subsequently be used by the winning bidders to compete against each other in downstream markets. Other important instances of such situations include take-off and landing slots at airports and rights for electricity and gas transmission. We first review some of the theory describing multi-object auctions. We next outline the importance of strategic effects arising in auctions that are followed by competition between the bidders, and the tension arising between various goals such as efficiency and revenue maximization. Although more flexible auction formats can have virtues (particularly in taking into account complementarities), they can also be manipulated by bidders to build market power to the detriment of consumers. We next apply these insights to the recent European UMTS licence auctions. Finally we draw the main conclusions and policy implications. Copyright (c) CEPR, CES, MSH, 2003..

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2003. "An economic perspective on auctions," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 269-308, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:18:y:2003:i:36:p:269-308
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maarten C.W. Janssen & Vladimir A. Karamychev, 2010. "Do auctions select efficient firms?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1319-1344, December.
    2. Sheng, Dian & Li, Zhi-Chun & Xiao, Yi-bin & Fu, Xiaowen, 2015. "Slot auction in an airport network with demand uncertainty," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 79-100.
    3. Peter Cramton & Andrzej Skrzypacz & Robert Wilson, 2007. "Revenues in the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction," Papers of Peter Cramton 07rev700, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2007.
    4. Daniel, Joseph I, 2014. "The untolled problems with airport slot constraints," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 16-28.
    5. Ari Hyytinen & Sofia Lundberg & Otto Toivanen, 2015. " Design of public procurement auctions: Evidence from cleaning contracts," Working Papers Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation (MSI) 483670, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation (MSI).
    6. repec:eee:indorg:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:63-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Onur A. Koska & Ilke Onur & Frank Stähler, 2015. "The Scope of Auctions in the Presence of Downstream Interactions and Information Externalities," CESifo Working Paper Series 5256, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2005. "Allocative and Informational Externalities in Auctions and Related Mechanisms," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000490, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Laurent Lamy & Philippe Jehiel, 2016. "On the benefits of set-asides," Post-Print hal-01688237, HAL.
    10. Sherstyuk, Katerina & Dulatre, Jeremy, 2008. "Market performance and collusion in sequential and simultaneous multi-object auctions: Evidence from an ascending auctions experiment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 557-572, March.
    11. Janssen, Maarten & Karamychev, Vladimir, 2017. "Raising rivals’ cost in multi-unit auctions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 473-490.
    12. Gary Madden & Erik Bohlin & Thien Tran & Aaron Morey, 2014. "Spectrum Licensing, Policy Instruments and Market Entry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(3), pages 277-298, May.
    13. Avenali, Alessandro & D'Alfonso, Tiziana & Leporelli, Claudio & Matteucci, Giorgio & Nastasi, Alberto & Reverberi, Pierfrancesco, 2015. "An incentive pricing mechanism for efficient airport slot allocation in Europe," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 27-36.
    14. Sun, Ning & Yang, Zaifu, 2016. "An Efficient and Strategy-Proof Double-Track Auction for Substitutes and Complements," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 523, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    15. Janssen, Maarten & Karamychev, Vladimir, 2016. "Spiteful bidding and gaming in combinatorial clock auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 186-207.
    16. Peter Cramton & Evan Kwerel & Gregory Rosston & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2011. "Using Spectrum Auctions to Enhance Competition in Wireless Services," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(S4), pages 167-188.
    17. Rey, Patrick & Salant, David, 2017. "Allocating essential inputs," TSE Working Papers 17-820, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Feb 2018.
    18. Maarten Janssen & Vladimir Karamychev, 2013. "Gaming in Combinatorial Clock Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-027/VII, Tinbergen Institute, revised 16 Dec 2013.
    19. Yoon, Kiho, 2006. "Bid preference in license auctions: Affirmative action can achieve economic efficiency," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 593-604, May.
    20. Markus Groth, 2009. "The transferability and performance of payment-by-results biodiversity conservation procurement auctions: empirical evidence from northernmost Germany," Working Paper Series in Economics 119, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    21. Goeree, Jacob K. & Offerman, Theo & Schram, Arthur, 2006. "Using first-price auctions to sell heterogeneous licenses," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 555-581, May.

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