Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction

Putting Auction Theory to Work: The Simultaneous Ascending Auction

Journal of Political Economy. April
2000, Vol. 108, Issue 2, Pages 245-272

I 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 United States. I analyze some capabilities and 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 in which revenue, rather than efficiency, is the primary goal.