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Strange Bids: Bidding Behaviour in the United Kingdom's Third Generation Spectrum Auction

  • Börgers, Tilman
  • Dustmann, Christian

This Paper studies bidding behaviour in the auction of radio spectrum for third generation mobile telephone services which took place in the United Kingdom in the spring of 2000. We show that several companies’ bidding behaviour deviates strongly from theoretical predictions. In particular some companies’ evaluation of the added advantage of having a large license rather than a small license seemed to change dramatically during the auction for no obvious reason. We conclude that it is less well understood than previously believed how spectrum auctions work, and whether they lead to an efficient allocation of spectrum.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3072.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3072
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  1. Plott, Charles R. & Salmon, Timothy, 2002. "The Simultaneous, Ascending Auction: Dynamics of Price Adjustment in Experiments and in the U.K. 3G Spectrum Auction," Working Papers 1155, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, 2000. "Collusive Bidding: Lessons from the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 00jre, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Mar 1999.
  3. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  4. Heidrun C. Hoppe & Philippe Jehiel & Benny Moldovanu, 2006. "License Auctions and Market Structure," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 371-396, 06.
  5. Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, 2000. "Collusive Bidding in the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1210, Econometric Society.
  6. 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.
  7. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Gabrielle Demange & Gale David & Marilda Sotomayor, 1986. "Multi-Item Auctions," Post-Print halshs-00670982, HAL.
  10. Milgrom, Paul, 1998. "Putting auction theory to work : the simultaneous ascending auction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1986, The World Bank.
  11. Paul Klemperer, 2000. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2001. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licenses," Economics Papers 2002-W4, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, revised 01 Sep 2001.
  13. 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.
  14. Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal, 2007. "Auctions with Financial Externalities," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(3), pages 551-574, September.
  15. Klemperer, Paul, 1998. "Auctions with almost common values: The 'Wallet Game' and its applications," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 757-769, May.
  16. Veronika Grimm & Frank Riedel & Elmar G. Wolfstetter, 2001. "The Third Generation (UMTS) Spectrum Auction in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 584, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  18. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  19. Peter Cramton, 2002. "Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 01hte, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 16 Jul 2001.
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