Search the Site

Auction Aversion

David Warsh reflects on the advances of auction technology and market design since the first high-tech auction was held by the Federal Communications Commission in 1994. Warsh points out that despite the recent growth of auctions in private markets and the well-established benefits of auctions, industry continues to vigorously oppose government auctions. Auctions of landing slots at New York airports, toxic bank assets, and carbon emission permits have all been opposed by industry groups precisely because of their price-discovering power. Warsh, however, is hopeful about the future. “As principles of market design become more thoroughly articulated and widely understood,” he writes, “the sphere of governmental discretion will shrink.” [%comments]