Assigning Property Rights to Radio Spectrum Users: Why Did FCC License Auctions Take 67 Years?
While Leo Herzel (1951) and Ronald Coase (1959) persuasively argued for auctioning licenses issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), not until 1993 did the U.S. Congress grant the FCC authority to assign wireless operating permits via competitive bidding. Why were auctions, with obvious efficiency and equity advantages, so long in coming? Why were comparative hearings in the "public interest" first abandoned as assignment tools in 1981 not for auctions, but for lotteries? And why were radio and TV licenses pointedly excluded from auctions? Four factors--the special interest of regulators in influencing broadcasting content, the limits placed on explicit program regulation by the U.S. Constitution, the recent increase in the relative economic importance of nonbroadcast wireless services, and the agency problem embedded in central planning--are used to explain both the political stability of economically inefficient licensing methods and recent reforms. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard A. Posner, 1971. "Taxation by Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 22-50, Spring.
- Hazlett, Thomas W & Sosa, David W, 1997. "Was the Fairness Doctrine a "Chilling Effect"? Evidence from the Postderegulation Radio Market," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 279-301, January.
- George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
- Melody, William H, 1980. "Radio Spectrum Allocation: Role of the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 393-397, May.
- Minasian, Jora R, 1975. "Property Rights in Radiation: An Alternative Approach to Radio Frequency Allocation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 221-272, April.
- Thomas Krattenmaker & Lucas Powe, 1994. "Regulating Broadcast Programming," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53082, April.
- Klein, Benjamin & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "Vertical Restraints as Contract Enforcement Mechanisms," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 265-297, October.
- John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
- Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1992.
"Pervasive Shortages under Socialism,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(2), pages 237-246, Summer.
- Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1991. "Pervasive Shortages Under Socialism," NBER Working Papers 3791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lueck, Dean, 1995. "The Rule of First Possession and the Design of the Law," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 393-436, October.
- Coase, R H, 1993. "Law and Economics at Chicago," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 239-254, April.
- Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
- Thomas W. Hazlett & Matthew L. Spitzer, 1997. "Public Policy toward Cable Television," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53139, April. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)