In this paper we consider recent proposals to auction U.S. import quotas, using the funds so obtained to encourage relocation out of the protected industries. We first discuss the design of quota auctions so as to maximize revenue for the government. We then consider why quota auctions should be used at all, rather than simply using tariffs, or immediately opening trade and compensating people with income transfers. We argue that the information available to the government, or lack thereof, is a critical factor in understanding these policies. Copyright 1990 Blackwell Publishers Ltd..