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Spectrum Auction Design

  • Peter Cramton

    ()

Spectrum auctions are used by governments to assign and price licenses for wireless communications. The standard approach is the simultaneous ascending auction, in which many related lots are auctioned simultaneously in a sequence of rounds. I analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the approach with examples from US spectrum auctions. I then present a variation-the combinatorial clock auction-which has been adopted by the UK and many other countries, which addresses many of the problems of the simultaneous ascending auction while building on its strengths. The combinatorial clock auction is a simple dynamic auction in which bidders bid on packages of lots. Most importantly, the auction allows alternative technologies that require the spectrum to be organized in different ways to compete in a technology-neutral auction. In addition, the pricing rule and information policy are carefully tailored to mitigate gaming behavior. An activity rule based on revealed preference promotes price and assignment discovery throughout the clock stage of the auction. Truthful bidding is encouraged, which simplifies bidding and improves efficiency. Experimental tests and early auctions confirm the advantages of the approach. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11151-013-9376-x
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Industrial Organization.

Volume (Year): 42 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 161-190

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Handle: RePEc:kap:revind:v:42:y:2013:i:2:p:161-190
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  1. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo, 2002. "Collusion via Signalling in Simultaneous Ascending Bid Auctions with Heterogeneous Objects, with and without Complementarities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 407-436.
  2. 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 S167 - S188.
  3. Peter Cramton & Evan Kwerel & John Williams, 1998. "Efficient Relocation of Spectrum Incumbents," Papers of Peter Cramton 98jleer, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 12 Jul 1998.
  4. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 2004. "Auctioning Many Divisible Goods," Papers of Peter Cramton 04jeea, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2004.
  5. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Economics Series Working Papers 2004-W09, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Aytek Erdil & Paul Klemperer, 2010. "A New Payment Rule for Core-Selecting Package Auctions," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 537-547, 04-05.
  7. John H. Kagel & Yuanchuan Lien & Paul Milgrom, 2010. "Ascending Prices and Package Bidding: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 160-85, August.
  8. Robert Day & Paul Milgrom, 2008. "Core-selecting package auctions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 393-407, March.
  9. Cramton, Peter C, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 267-343, Summer.
  10. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Introduction to Auctions: Theory and Practice
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    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  11. Peter Cramton & Andrzej Skrzypacz & Robert Wilson, 2007. "The 700 MHz Spectrum Auction: An Opportunity to Protect Competition In a Consolidating Industry," Papers of Peter Cramton 07c700mhz, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2007.
  12. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  13. Robert Day & Peter Cramton, 2008. "Quadratic Core-Selecting Payment Rules for Combinatorial Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 08qcspr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2012.
  14. Levin, Dan & Kagel, John H & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1996. "Revenue Effects and Information Processing in English Common Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 442-60, June.
  15. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2004. "An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1452-1475, December.
  16. Alfred E. Kahn & Peter Cramton & Robert H. Porter & Richard D. Tabors, 2001. "Uniform Pricing or Pay-as-Bid Pricing: A Dilemma for California and Beyond," Papers of Peter Cramton 01ej, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 27 Jan 2001.
  17. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 1995. "Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 98wpdr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 22 Jul 2002.
  18. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Paul Milgrom, 2002. "Ascending Auctions with Package Bidding," Working Papers 02004, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  19. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1998. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jems, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  20. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jemsfcc, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 12 Jul 1998.
  21. Robert W. Day & S. Raghavan, 2007. "Fair Payments for Efficient Allocations in Public Sector Combinatorial Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(9), pages 1389-1406, September.
  22. Paul Milgrom, 2007. "Package Auctions and Exchanges," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 935-965, 07.
  23. Marco Pagnozzi, 2010. "Are Speculators Unwelcome in Multi-object Auctions?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 97-131, May.
  24. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2006. "An Efficient Dynamic Auction for Heterogeneous Commodities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 602-629, June.
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