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The Knowledge We Have Lost in InformationThe History of Information in Modern Economics$
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Philip Mirowski and Edward Nik-Khah

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190270056

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190270056.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 January 2021

Designs on the Market

Designs on the Market

The FCC Spectrum Auctions

(p.207) 15 Designs on the Market
The Knowledge We Have Lost in Information

Philip Mirowski

Edward Nik-Khah

Oxford University Press

In this chapter we describe the supposed greatest triumph of the market designers, the FCC spectrum auctions. Careful recap of the history reveals that none of the touted benefits of the auction finally settled upon actually were realized; and further, the supposed central role of game theory in the choice of auction was dubious. What economists did accomplish was to deliver the types of licenses preferred by their patrons at good prices. This suggests market design has mostly delivered a new role for economists in the political economy, rather than some generic public benefit.

Keywords:   FCC spectrum auction, Milgrom-Wilson auction, game theory, combinatorial auction, smart market, package bidding, SMRI, market engineering, multiple good

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