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Diffusion of regulatory Policy Across Nations: The Example of Number Portability


  • Irene S. WU

    (Georgetown University and Federal Communications Commission)


Out of around 200 countries in the world, only 75 have number portability. What are the international factors that explain the diffusion of this regulatory policy? Research on policy diffusion offers several explanations: constructivist, coercion, competition, and learning. Each of these theories is explored based on a dataset that tracks the implementation of number portability, fixed phone competition and mobile phone competition, and documentary evidence gathered from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union, and the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL). In these three regulatory issue areas, Asia, Americas, and Europe are the three regions that innovate first; Middle East and Africa follow later on. Further, Hong Kong and New Zealand in Asia and Canada, Chile, and the US in Americas are pioneers, while others wait to see results before proceeding; learning appears to explain the diffusion pattern in these regions. In contrast, in Europe, regulatory diffusion begins early and proceeds rapidly with pioneers like Finland and United Kingdom, but others adopt without the lag time observed in Asia and Americas, very likely because of the leadership and enforcement powers of the European Union, a coercive explanation among member states and a competitive one among non-member states.

Suggested Citation

  • Irene S. WU, 2014. "Diffusion of regulatory Policy Across Nations: The Example of Number Portability," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(95), pages 111-132, 3rd quart.
  • Handle: RePEc:idt:journl:cs9505

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lee, Chang Kil & Strang, David, 2006. "The International Diffusion of Public-Sector Downsizing: Network Emulation and Theory-Driven Learning," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 883-909, October.
    2. Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede & Ward, Michael D., 2006. "Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 911-933, October.
    3. Edwards, Sebastian, 1997. "Trade Liberalization Reforms and the World Bank," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 43-48, May.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:171-189_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Swank, Duane, 2006. "Tax Policy in an Era of Internationalization: Explaining the Spread of Neoliberalism," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 847-882, October.
    6. Simmons, Beth A. & Dobbin, Frank & Garrett, Geoffrey, 2006. "Introduction: The International Diffusion of Liberalism," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(04), pages 781-810, October.
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    More about this item


    regulation; competition; number portability; switching costs; European Union; APEC; CITEL; international organizations;

    JEL classification:

    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services


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