orce, privatized companies facing competitive markets have sharply reduced their personnel.
Besides discriminating between the impacts generated by privatization from those induced by commercialization or liberalization, it is important to keep in mind that, due to the variety of economic, social, and political changes that LDCs suffered in the 1980s, one should be careful to attribute causality solely to the sale of SOTEs, commercialization of services, or liberalization of markets. In the last few years the countries studied here have experienced major economic changes--such as structural adjustment programs, economic liberalization, decreased inflation, rapid growth of capital markets, new domestic and foreign direct investments, and repatriation of capital--that may have influenced outcomes in the telecom sector. For example, it is hard to tell whether the rise in the value of privatized firms' shares is linked to the change to private ownership or to the attractiveness and dynamism of the domestic economy, and, in particular, of the local stock exchange.
Finally, it is important to stress that this is not a theoretical work. It is, instead, a comparative historical analysis that uses theory to reach a better understanding of events in each country studied. In this regard, it does not seek "universal principles," nor does it try to understand historical processes in the light of neatly designed models. The research, instead, looks for causal connections that might offer theoretical insights potentially generalizable to other similar cases across time and space. For these reasons the study relies heavily on the methodological tools offered by comparative historical analysis.