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Mutually Destructive Bidding: The FCC Auction Design Problem


  • Bykowsky, Mark M
  • Cull, Robert J
  • Ledyard, John O


In general, synergies across license valuations complicate the auction design process. Theory suggests that a "simple" (i.e., non-combinatorial) auction will have difficulty in assigning licenses efficiently in such an environment. This difficulty increases with increases in "fitting complexity." In some environments, bidding may become "mutually destructive." Experiments indicate that a properly designed combinatorial auction is superior to a simple auction in terms of economic efficiency and revenue generation in bidding environments with a low amount of fitting complexity. Concerns that a combinatorial auction will cause a "threshold" problem are not borne out when bidders for small packages can communicate. Copyright 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Bykowsky, Mark M & Cull, Robert J & Ledyard, John O, 2000. "Mutually Destructive Bidding: The FCC Auction Design Problem," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 205-228, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:17:y:2000:i:3:p:205-28

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
    5. Morgenstern, Richard & Harrington, Winston & Nelson, Per-Kristian, 1999. "On the Accuracy of Regulatory Cost Estimates," Discussion Papers dp-99-18, Resources For the Future.
    6. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    7. Mark D. Agee & Thomas D. Crocker, 1996. "Parental Altruism and Child Lead Exposure: Inferences from the Demand for Chelation Therapy," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 677-691.
    8. Jeffrey S. Zax & Daniel I. Rees, 2002. "IQ, Academic Performance, Environment, and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 600-616, November.
    9. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
    10. Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi & Hall, Bronwyn H, 1986. "Wages, Schooling and IQ of Brothers and Sisters: Do the Family Factors Differ?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 27(1), pages 77-105, February.
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