Mechanisms of policy diffusion in the telecommunications sector; Universal Service Obligation and Spectrum Management in Morocco, Egypt and Jordan
Wavre, Veronique Lisa
Date: 18 January 2016
University of Exeter
PhD in Politics
Since the advent of the millennium, a growing interest has arisen in information and communication technologies (ICT) given the potential to bridge the digital divide. ICT have had a central role to play in terms of economic, regulatory and political development. Telecommunications is used in this thesis as a sector case to study policy ...
Since the advent of the millennium, a growing interest has arisen in information and communication technologies (ICT) given the potential to bridge the digital divide. ICT have had a central role to play in terms of economic, regulatory and political development. Telecommunications is used in this thesis as a sector case to study policy diffusion, which focuses on the movement of policies across borders and actors. This thesis answers the following research question: does policy diffusion take place in the telecommunications sector in the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries? This is answered using qualitative methods, such as expert interviews and the comparison of six cases, composed of two sectors of ICT; Universal Service Obligation (USO) and spectrum management, and of three countries; Morocco, Jordan and Egypt. In case the research question is positively answered two further foci are central to the thesis. Firstly, the thesis explores the conditions leading to policy diffusion. The thesis argues that the conditions leading to policy diffusion are linked to different degrees of vulnerability of countries to external actors. This vulnerability is described through four variables, which reveals the levels of governance and market openness and economic and political interconnectedness of the adopting countries. Secondly, it scrutinizes the links between sector variables and mechanisms of diffusion. The argument of this part is that different combinations of these sector variables support the differentiation across the four traditional mechanisms of policy diffusion; learning, imitation, competition and coercion. The main contributions of this thesis are both theoretical, to the literature of policy diffusion and empirical, regarding telecommunications regulation in three MENA countries. The thesis underlines the key role of government administrations as the main driver for policy change in MENA countries, compared to international pressures and market forces. Furthermore this thesis concludes that, in the telecommunications sector, transgovernmental channels are nowadays omnipresent in the phenomenon of policy diffusion and are thus not sufficient to disentangle mechanisms of diffusion. The thesis examines the additional factors of efficiency, economic interests and sanction capacity for explanatory power.
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