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Auction design and tacit collusion in FCC spectrum auctions

  • Bajari, Patrick
  • Yeo, Jungwon
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    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.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 90-100

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:21:y:2009:i:2:p:90-100
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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    1. Robert J. Weber, 1997. "Making More from Less: Strategic Demand Reduction in the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 529-548, 09.
    2. Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, 2000. "Collusive Bidding: Lessons from the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 00jre, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Mar 1999.
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    4. Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, 2000. "Collusive Bidding in the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1210, Econometric Society.
    5. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
    6. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo, 2004. "Collusion via Signalling in Simultaneous Ascending Bid Auctions with Heterogeneous Objects, with and without Complementarities," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000385, UCLA Department of Economics.
    7. Patrick Bajari & Jeremy T. Fox, 2005. "Measuring the Efficiency of an FCC Spectrum Auction," NBER Working Papers 11671, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Paul Milgrom, . "Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction," Working Papers 98002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    9. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie M. Marx, 2008. "The Economics of Contingent Re-Auctions," Department of Economics Working Papers 08-02, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    10. 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, 09.
    11. Avery, Christopher, 1998. "Strategic Jump Bidding in English Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 185-210, April.
    12. Cramton, Peter & Ingraham, Allan T. & Singer, Hal J., 0. "The effect of incumbent bidding in set-aside auctions: An analysis of prices in the closed and open segments of FCC Auction 35," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(3-4), pages 273-290, April.
    13. David J. Salant, 1997. "Up in the Air: GTE's Experience in the MTA Auction for Personal Communication Services Licenses," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 549-572, 09.
    14. Leslie Marx, 2006. "Economics at the Federal Communications Commission," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 349-368, December.
    15. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521536721 is not listed on IDEAS
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