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Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions

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  • Lawrence M. Ausubel
  • Peter Cramton
  • R. Preston McAfee
  • John McMillan

Abstract

We examine bid data from the first two broadband PCS spectrum auctions for evidence of value synergies. First, we estimate a benchmark regression for the determinants of final auction prices. Then, we include variables reflecting the extent to which bidders ultimately won or already owned the adjacent wireless properties. Consistent with geographic synergies in an ascending-bid auction, prices were higher when the highest losing bidder had adjacent licenses. The footprints of winning bidders suggest that they were often successful in realizing these synergies. Copyright (c) 1997 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:6:y:1997:i:3:p:497-527
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brewer, Paul J. & Plott, Charles R., 1996. "A binary conflict ascending price (BICAP) mechanism for the decentralized allocation of the right to use railroad tracks," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 857-886, October.
    2. Gale, Ian, 1990. "A multiple-object auction with superadditive values," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 323-328, December.
    3. 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.
    4. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
    5. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & Marek Pycia & Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2014. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1366-1400.
    6. Krishna, Vijay & Rosenthal, Robert W., 1996. "Simultaneous Auctions with Synergies," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-31, November.
    7. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 431-495, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Mamer, John W., 1997. "Competitive Equilibrium in an Exchange Economy with Indivisibilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 385-413, June.
    10. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
    11. Michael H. Rothkopf & Aleksandar Pekev{c} & Ronald M. Harstad, 1998. "Computationally Manageable Combinational Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(8), pages 1131-1147, August.
    12. Gandal, Neil, 1997. "Sequential Auctions of Interdependent Objects: Israeli Cable Television Licenses," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 227-244, September.
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    JEL classification:

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

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