Central America and the Caribbean Islands’ ICT Variables for Development
18 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2015
Date Written: July 13, 2015
From the perspective of the information revolution and based on the methodology put forward by the Telecommunications Law Indicators for Comparative Studies (TLICS) Model published in 2011 and 2012, this paper builds on the federative indicator used by the literature on dependence of economic development on ICT to answer the following research question: What indicators better represent the institutional federative background in Central America and the Caribbean Islands for the ICT comparative research? Six sets of federative indicators on revenue, fiscal transfer, regulatory power, judicial centralization, planning, and media content regulation are put together to compare federal environment in Central America and the Caribbean as a groundwork for the ICT comparative research. The empirical universe of the paper encompassed eleven countries from Central America and the Caribbean region, all of them officially defined as unitary – Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Panama –, and all Latin American federal countries – Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela. The article is organized in three main parts. A brief description of the TLICS model ICT federative indicators is performed in the first part. The second part applies these variables to the aforementioned Central American states and selected Caribbean Islands. The third part delves into the comparison of the states analyzed by means of categorizing the differences and commonalities revealed by those indicators. To test the association between federalism as the outcome and each of the independent (explanatory) variables proposed by the TLICS model, we used the following tests of significance: (i) Fisher exact test, to test the proportion of the institutional variables of federalism in the given group of states; (ii)relative risk, to test the odds of a federal country having decentralized ICT variables; (iii) logistic regression, to predict the probability of a country being classified as federative based on each of the ICT variables. The only ICT variable significantly associated with a country being classified as federative was tax in the telecom, broadcast, and e-commerce sectors. As a main outcome, based on data collected from the institutional background and legal frameworks of those countries, we found clusters of commonalities between federal and unitary countries that support the assumption that the sole reference to a single federative category, as opposed to the use of atomized indicators, cannot provide a real picture of their institutional background for ICT and development comparative purposes. Focusing on the Central American and the Caribbean countries, we found those countries to behave as expected for a unitary state on the revenue, fiscal transfer and planning ICT variables, but they do not behave as expected for the regulation and adjudication ones, which shows that regulatory and adjudicatory frameworks should be individually scrutinized before taking them for granted into the ICT development literature.
Keywords: Comparative regulatory models, federalism, Central America, Telecommunications Law Indicators for Comparative Studies (TLICS Model).
JEL Classification: L96, L5
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation