Monday, July 10, 2017

Economics and computer science of a radio spectrum reallocation in the PNAS

A PNAS article on the recent incentive auction, by its design team.

Economics and computer science of a radio spectrum reallocation
Kevin Leyton-Brown, Paul Milgrom, and Ilya Segal
 Early Edition >  doi: 10.1073/pnas.1701997114

The recent “incentive auction” of the US Federal Communications Commission was the first auction to reallocate radio frequencies between two different kinds of uses: from broadcast television to wireless Internet access. The design challenge was not just to choose market rules to govern a fixed set of potential trades but also, to determine the broadcasters’ property rights, the goods to be exchanged, the quantities to be traded, the computational procedures, and even some of the performance objectives. An essential and unusual challenge was to make the auction simple enough for human participants while still ensuring that the computations would be tractable and capable of delivering nearly efficient outcomes.

Conflict of interest statement: P.M. led the team of consultants on behalf of Auctionomics, which was responsible for advising the Federal Communications Commission on the design of the incentive auction. K.L.-B. and I.S. were the two other members of the Auctionomics consulting team.

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