Explaining Divergent Policy Outcomes
This study does not attempt to explain why telecom reform policies emerged and why were they adopted by some countries and not by others. The work instead starts at the point in the late 1980s at which many governments--for whatever reason--decided to privatize their state-owned telecommunications enterprises (SOTEs) and liberalize important segments of their telecom markets. The question that drives the study is why certain countries have been more successful than others in implementing reform in their national telecommunications sector. 1 What are the political and economic conditions that enhance or diminish the viability of privatization and liberalization of telecommunications services in less developed countries (LDCs)?
This chapter begins by offering a theoretical framework for the understanding of cross-country variations in telecom privatization attempts. It moves later to the question of liberalization, examining conceptual tools for explaining divergent outcomes resulting from liberalization attempts. The next section reviews events in the light of a variety of social science approaches to the analysis of the policy-making process. 2 Virtues and flaws of the most common theories are discussed in regard to their applicability to the cases explored here. Argentina, Mexico, Malaysia, and Thailand illustrate these theoretical issues.