The Determinants and Impact of Telecommunications Reforms in Developing Countries
Laura Recuero Virto
OECD Development Center
University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE)
Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 93, No. 2, 2010
This paper has two related objectives. First, it seeks to identify the key determinants of some policies that have been at the heart of the reforms of the telecommunications industry in developing countries, namely, liberalization, privatization, and the (re)structuring of regulation. Second, it attempts to estimate the extent to which these policies have translated into actual deployment of telecommunications infrastructure. This simultaneous investigation is conducted by means of an econometric analysis of a 1985-1999 time-series cross- sectional database on 86 developing countries. Sectoral as well as institutional and financial factors are found to be important determinants of the actual reforms implemented. We uncover a positive relationship between the decision to introduce competition in the digital cellular segment and the growth of the fixed-line segment, suggesting that these two segments have benefited from each other. We also find that countries facing increasing institutional risk and financial constraints are more likely to introduce competition in the digital cellular segment and to privatize the fixed-line incumbent, these policies being economically attractive to both investors and governments. In turn, these policies are those that enhance the deployment of fixed-line infrastructure. In contrast, competition in the analogue cellular segment and the creation of a separate regulator seem to be relatively less attractive policies as they are found to be less likely to be introduced in countries facing increasing institutional risk and budget constraints. Their impact on fixed network deployment is found to be negative or non significant.
Keywords: Telecommunications, reforms, institutional risk, financial constraints, developing countries
JEL Classification: C23, L51, L96, L97
Date posted: January 31, 2011
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