Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction
The"simultaneous ascending auction"was first introduced in 1994 to sell licenses to use bands of radio spectrum in the United States. Much of the attention devoted to the auction came from its role in reducing federal regulation of the radio spectrum and allowing market values, rather than administrative fiat, to determine who would use the spectrum resource. Several parts of economic theory proved helpful in designing the rules for simultaneous ascending auction and in thinking about how the design might be improved and adapted for new applications. After briefly reviewing the major rules of the auction in section 2, the author turns in section 3 to an analysis based on tatonnement theory, which regards the auction as a mechanism for discovering an efficient allocation and its supporting prices. The analysis reveals a fundamental difference between situations in which the licenses are mutual substitutes and others in which the same licenses are sometimes substitutes and sometimes complements. Section 4 is a selective account of some applications of game theory to evaluating the simultaneous ascending auction design for spectrum sales. Results like those reported in section 3 have led to renewed interest in auctions in which bids for license packages are permitted. In section 5, the author uses game theory to analyze the biases in a leading proposal for dynamic combinatorial bidding. Section 6 briefly answers two additional questions that economists often ask about auction design: If trading of licenses after the auction is allowed, why does the auction form matter at all for promoting efficient license assignments? Holding fixed the quantity of licenses to be sold, how sharp is the conflict between the objectives of assigning licenses efficiently and obtaining maximum revenue? Section 7 concludes.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
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.
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.
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- 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.
- Peter Cramton, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Papers of Peter Cramton 95jems, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
- Carolyn Pitchik & Andrew Schotter, 1988.
"Perfect Equilibria in Budget-Constrained Sequential Auctions: An Experimental Study,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 363-388, Autumn.
- Pitchik, Carolyn & Schotter, Andrew, 1986. "Perfect Equilibria in Budget Constrained Sequential Auctions: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 86-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Ledyard, J.O. & Noussair, C. & Porter, D., 1994.
"The Allocation of Shared Resource within an Organization,"
Purdue University Economics Working Papers
1063, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
- John Ledyard & Charles Noussair & David Porter, 1996. "The allocation of a shared resource within an organization," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 2(1), pages 163-192, December.
- Ledyard, John O. & Noussair, Charles & Porter, David, "undated". "The Allocation of a Shared Resource Within an Organization," Working Papers 917, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Auction Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 779, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & Marek Pycia & Marzena Rostek & Marek Weretka, 2014.
"Demand Reduction and Inefficiency in Multi-Unit Auctions,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1366-1400.
- 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.
- Lisa J. Cameron & Peter Cramton & Robert Wilson, 1997.
"Using Auctions to Divest Generation Assets,"
Papers of Peter Cramton
97elec, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
- Banks, Jeffrey S. & Ledyard, John O. & Porter, David P., "undated". "Allocating Uncertain and Unresponsive Resources," Working Papers 680, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Palfrey, Thomas R, 1983. "Bundling Decisions by a Multiproduct Monopolist with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 463-483, March.
- R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
- Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981.
"A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding,"
447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- 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.
- William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
- Jeffrey S. Banks & John O. Ledyard & David P. Porter, 1989. "Allocating Uncertain and Unresponsive Resources: An Experimental Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(1), pages 1-25, Spring.
- Engelbrecht-Wiggans, Richard, 1988. "Revenue equivalence in multi-object auctions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 15-19.
- Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1991. "Adaptive and sophisticated learning in normal form games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 82-100, February.
- Gul, F. & Stacchetti, E., 1997. "Walrasian Equilibrium Without Complementarities," Papers 97-03, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Kelso, Alexander S, Jr & Crawford, Vincent P, 1982. "Job Matching, Coalition Formation, and Gross Substitutes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1483-1504, November.
- Theodore Groves & Martin Loeb, 1974.
"Incentives and Public Inputs,"
29, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:108:y:2000:i:2:p:245-272. 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.