Coase and the New Zealand Spectrum Reforms
In 1988, New Zealand commissioned a study by John Fountain to review the literature on the economics of spectrum management. As that report was being completed, New Zealand contracted with National Economic Research Associates to study the management of the radio frequency spectrum. I discuss the influence of Ronald Coase’s 1959 and 1962 articles on both studies and on the statute that was ultimately enacted and subsequently implemented in New Zealand. I touch on how I was inspired by Coase’s articles while I was a graduate student exploring approaches to defining spectrum property rights and how Coase’s work informed legislative options related to spectrum rights in common-carrier legislation introduced in the 1970s. The article closes with a thought experiment that explores the potential benefits of a broader and earlier implementation of Coase’s insights.
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