Bid preference in license auctions: Affirmative action can achieve economic efficiency

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2 Citations (Scopus)


If allocative externalities are present among bidders such as when they interact subsequent to the auction, their valuations for the item may differ from their contributions to the social welfare. This paper shows that bid preference in auctions given to those bidders who can contribute more to the social welfare relative to their valuations is an effective measure to achieve efficiency, that is, social welfare maximization. This paper therefore provides a rationale in terms of efficiency for the practice of granting affirmative action bid preferences to minorities or other designated groups. This insight may be applicable to the broader issue of affirmative action programs in general as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-604
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Organization
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I thank Benny Moldovanu, Guofu Tan, seminar participants at the University of Southern California and Kookmin University as well as an associate editor for many helpful comments and suggestions. This work was supported by a Korea University Grant.


  • Affirmative action
  • Allocative externality
  • Bid preference
  • License auction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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