A group of prominent economists including Auctionomics’ Paul Milgrom convened with FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. They urged legislators to adopt rules that enable the FCC to design and run incentive auctions to allow broadcasters to relinquish under-used spectrum allocations for higher-value uses like mobile broadband.

Milgrom, a Stanford economist, echoed the point that Congress should avoid digging into the weeds. “Setting up an auction involves some details that the FCC has shown itself capable of doing in the past. It would be very hard to write [specific rules] into legislation and get it right the first time,” he said. “The FCC needs to be allowed the flexibility to do this correctly.”