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Mobile phones, the Internet and the institutional environment


  • Andonova, Veneta


This paper empirically investigates the determinants of the Internet and cellular phone penetration levels in a cross-country setting. It offers a framework to explain differences in the use of information and communication technologies in terms of differences in the institutional environment and the resulting investment climate. Using three measures of the quality of the investment climate, Internet access is shown to depend strongly on the country's institutional setting because fixed-line Internet investment is characterized by a high risk of state expropriation, given its considerable asset specificity. Mobile phone networks, on the other hand, are built on less site-specific, re-deployable modules, which make this technology less dependent on institutional characteristics. It is speculated that the existence of telecommunications technology that is less sensitive to the parameters of the institutional environment and, in particular, to poor investment protection provides an opportunity for better understanding of the constraints and prospects for economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Andonova, Veneta, 2006. "Mobile phones, the Internet and the institutional environment," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 29-45, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:30:y:2006:i:1:p:29-45

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