Ronald Coase, the ‘father’ of the spectrum auction, dies at 102

The New York Times reports that Ronald Coase has died at the age of 102. Though you may never have heard of the Nobel Memorial Prize winning economist, his theories in the mid 20th century have a significant impact on your everyday life — assuming you’re using a cellular phone.

In 1959, the FCC doled out wireless spectrum in a significantly different way than it does today. Companies licensed the radio waves for specific uses, more or less permanently, for small fees. Enter Coase, who had already written extensively and influentially on economic concepts like “transaction costs.” Coase argued that the FCC should treat spectrum like property — auctioning it off to the highest bidder and allowing that bidder to use it however they…

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

Leave a Comment