Paul Milgrom corrects the record on spectrum auctions and market design

from Market Design at on June 15, 2020 at 10:11AM

Paul Milgrom responds in detail to some scurrilous online criticisms and innuendos about market designers in general and spectrum auctions in particular.

 The Market Design Community and the Broadcast Incentive Auction: 
Fact-Checking Glen Weyl’s and Stefano Feltri’s False Claims
By Paul Milgrom*  June 3, 2020 (and republished on Digitopoly on June 14)

"In a recent Twitter rant and a pair of subsequent articles in Promarket, Glen Weyl [1] and Stefano
Feltri [2] invent a conspiratorial narrative according to which the academic market design community is secretive and corrupt, my own actions benefitted my former business associates and the hedge funds they advised in the 2017 broadcast incentive auction, and the result was that far too little TV spectrum was reassigned for broadband at far too little value for taxpayers.
The facts bear out none of these allegations. In fact, there were:

• No secrets: all of Auctionomics’ communications are on the public record,
• No benefits for hedge funds: the funds vigorously opposed Auctionomics’ proposals, which reduced their auction profits,
• No spectrum shortfalls: the number of TV channels reassigned was unaffected by the hedge funds’ bidding, and
• No taxpayer losses: the money value created for the public by the broadband spectrum auction was more than one hundred times larger than the alleged revenue shortfall.

[read the rest to get the facts…]

[1] “It Is Such a Small World: The Market-Design Academic Community Evolved in a Business Network.” Stefano Feltri, Promarket, May 28, 2020.
[2] “How Market Design Economists Helped to Engineer a Mass Privatization of Public Resources.” Glen Weyl, Promarket, May 28, 2020.