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Auction design and tacit collusion in FCC spectrum auctions

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  • Bajari, Patrick
  • Yeo, Jungwon

Abstract

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has used auctions to award spectrum since 1994. During this time period, the FCC has experimented with a variety of auctions rules including click box bidding and anonymous bidding. These rule changes make the actions of bidders less visible during the auction and also limit the set of bids that can be submitted during a particular round. Economic theory suggests that tacit collusion may be more difficult as a result. We examine this proposition using data from four auctions: the PCS-C Block, the PCS-C&F Block Reauction, the Advanced Wireless Service auction and the 700 MHz auction. We examine the frequency of jump bids, retaliatory bids and straightforward bids across these auctions. While this simple descriptive exercise has a number of limitations, the data suggest that these rule changes have limited firms' ability to tacitly collude.

Suggested Citation

  • Bajari, Patrick & Yeo, Jungwon, 2009. "Auction design and tacit collusion in FCC spectrum auctions," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 90-100, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:21:y:2009:i:2:p:90-100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie M. Marx, 2011. "The Economics of Contingent Re-auctions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 165-193, May.
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    4. Jeremy T. Fox & Patrick Bajari, 2013. "Measuring the Efficiency of an FCC Spectrum Auction," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 100-146, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Helbing, Dirk & Balietti, Stefano, 2011. "Big data, privacy, and trusted web: What needs to be done," MPRA Paper 49702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Lu, Y. & Gupta, A. & Ketter, W. & van Heck, H.W.G.M., 2017. "Information Transparency in B2B Auction Markets: The Role of Winner Identity Disclosure," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2017-006-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    3. Martin Bichler & Pasha Shabalin & J├╝rgen Wolf, 2013. "Do core-selecting Combinatorial Clock Auctions always lead to high efficiency? An experimental analysis of spectrum auction designs," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 511-545, December.

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