Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction
December 8, 1997 (Revised April 21, 1999) We review the uses of economic theory in the initial design and later improvement of the "simultaneous ascending auction," which was developed initially for the sale of radio spectrum licenses in the US, with efficiency of the final allocation as the statutory goal. We analyze some capabilities and inherent limitations of the auction, the roles of various detailed rules, the possibilities for introducing combinatorial bidding, and some considerations in adapting the auction for sales with a revenue goal.
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