IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Administrative Creation of Property Rights to Radio Spectrum

  • Shelanski, Howard A
  • Huber, Peter W
Registered author(s):

    Despite the 1934 Communication Act's ban on private ownership of radio spectrum, the law leaves open to the Federal Communications Commission a range of licensing regimes under which the Commission may, in its discretion, grant spectrum users relatively strong or weak property rights to allotted frequencies. This article examines numerous administrative decisions by the FCC to demonstrate how regulatory changes have affected the property interests conferred by spectrum licenses, focusing on licensees' rights to use, divide, and broker spectrum flexibly and to prevent unauthorized reception of their signals. The article discusses the economic and legal significance of those changes and identifies areas for further reform. The authors conclude that, although important changes remain to be made, the FCC has strengthened property interests on both the transmission and receiving ends of licensed frequencies and, through the administrative process, has eroded the importance of the statutory distinction between private ownership and public licensing. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

    Volume (Year): 41 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 581-607

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:41:y:1998:i:2:p:581-607
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:41:y:1998:i:2:p:581-607. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.