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Spectrum Auction Design

Spectrum auctions are used by governments to assign and price licenses for wireless communications. The standard approach is the simultaneous ascending auction, in which many related lots are auctioned simultaneously in a sequence of rounds. I analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the approach with examples from US spectrum auctions. I then present a variation, the package clock auction, adopted by the UK, which addresses many of the problems of the simultaneous ascending auction while building on its strengths. The package clock auction is a simple dynamic auction in which bidders bid on packages of lots. Most importantly, the auction allows alternative technologies that require the spectrum to be organized in different ways to compete in a technology-neutral auction. In addition, the pricing rule and information policy are carefully tailored to mitigate gaming behavior. An activity rule based on revealed preference promotes price discovery throughout the clock stage of the auction. Truthful bidding is encouraged, which simplifies bidding and improves efficiency. Experimental tests and early auctions confirm the advantages of the approach.

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File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers2005-2009/cramton-spectrum-auction-design.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton in its series Papers of Peter Cramton with number 09sad.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision: 2012
Publication status: Published in Working Paper, University of Maryland, April 2012
Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:09sad
Contact details of provider: Postal: Economics Department, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-7211
Phone: (202) 318-0520
Fax: (202) 318-0520
Web page: http://www.cramton.umd.edu

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  1. John H. Kagel & Yuanchuan Lien & Paul Milgrom, 2010. "Ascending Prices and Package Bidding: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 160-85, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Aytek Erdil & Paul Klemperer, 2009. "A New Payment Rule for Core-Selecting Package Auctions," Economics Papers 2009-W11, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Introduction to Auctions: Theory and Practice
    [Auctions: Theory and Practice]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  5. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton, 2004. "Auctioning Many Divisible Goods," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 480-493, 04/05.
  6. 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.
  7. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo, 2002. "Collusion via Signalling in Simultaneous Ascending Bid Auctions with Heterogeneous Objects, with and without Complementarities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 407-436.
  8. Ausubel Lawrence M & Milgrom Paul R, 2002. "Ascending Auctions with Package Bidding," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-44, August.
  9. Peter Cramton & Andrzej Skrzypacz & Robert Wilson, 2007. "The 700 MHz Spectrum Auction: An Opportunity to Protect Competition In a Consolidating Industry," Papers of Peter Cramton 07c700mhz, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2007.
  10. Robert Day & Peter Cramton, 2008. "Quadratic Core-Selecting Payment Rules for Combinatorial Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 08qcspr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2012.
  11. Robert Day & Paul Milgrom, 2008. "Core-selecting package auctions," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 393-407, March.
  12. Peter Cramton & Evan Kwerel & John Williams, 1998. "Efficient Relocation of Spectrum Incumbents," Papers of Peter Cramton 98jleer, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 12 Jul 1998.
  13. Paul Klemperer, 2004. "Auctions: Theory and Practice," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number auction1.
  14. 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.
  15. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  16. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2004. "An Efficient Ascending-Bid Auction for Multiple Objects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1452-1475, December.
  17. Peter Cramton & Evan Kwerel & Gregory Rosston & Andrzej Skrzypacz, 2011. "Using Spectrum Auctions to Enhance Competition in Wireless Services," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(S4), pages S167 - S188.
  18. Robert W. Day & S. Raghavan, 2007. "Fair Payments for Efficient Allocations in Public Sector Combinatorial Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(9), pages 1389-1406, September.
  19. Lawrence M. Ausubel, 2006. "An Efficient Dynamic Auction for Heterogeneous Commodities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 602-629, June.
  20. Alfred E. Kahn & Peter Cramton & Robert H. Porter & Richard D. Tabors, 2001. "Uniform Pricing or Pay-as-Bid Pricing: A Dilemma for California and Beyond," Papers of Peter Cramton 01ej, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 27 Jan 2001.
  21. Marco Pagnozzi, 2010. "Are Speculators Unwelcome in Multi-object Auctions?," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 97-131, May.
  22. 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.
  23. Paul Milgrom, 2007. "Package Auctions and Exchanges," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(4), pages 935-965, 07.
  24. Levin, Dan & Kagel, John H & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1996. "Revenue Effects and Information Processing in English Common Value Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 442-60, June.
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