Decoupling Trends: Drivers of Agency Independence in Telecommunications, An analysis of high and middle-income countries Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2021

start page

  • 32

end page

  • 62


  • 1


  • 15

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1748-5983


  • Global diffusion of regulatory reforms in telecommunications has prevailed in many countries, engendering major institutional changes and entailing the establishment and/or reform of regulatory agencies. Although the triggers and timing of such agentification processes have been more or less similar, agency independence displays significant cross-country variation. Seeking to explain such variation based on a sample incorporating middle-income countries (MICs), this paper examines the impact of political-institutional settings in which the agencies operate, in addition to the impact of economic parameters. Regression analysis reveals that political rights appear as the central parameter, while their impact is more robust in MICs than in advanced countries. The results underscore considerable cross-national variation in regulatory governance, along with a noteworthy decoupling between MICs and advanced countries. Concurring with the regulatory regionalism perspective, the paper delineates distinct regional clusters, albeit remaining agnostic about the determinants of such clusters.