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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 10 No. 1 (Winter 1996)

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Analyzing the Airwaves Auction

Article Citation

McAfee, R. Preston, and John McMillan. 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(1): 159-175.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.1.159

Abstract

The design of the Federal Communications Commission spectrum license auction is a case study in the application of economic theory. Auction theory helped address policy questions such as whether an open auction or a sealed-bid auction should be used; whether the licenses should be auctioned sequentially or simultaneously; whether the government should allow bids for combinations of licenses or accept only single-license bids; how the auction should should be structured to promote the interests of minority-owned and other designated firms; whether the government should impose royalties or reserve prices; and how much the bidders should be informed about their competition.

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Authors

McAfee, R. Preston (U TX)
McMillan, John (U CA, San Diego)

JEL Classifications

L96: Telecommunications
D44: Auctions
D45: Rationing; Licensing

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