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Regulation and internet use in developing countries

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  • Wallsten, Scott

Abstract

Policymakers are simultaneously concerned about the consequences of a worsening"digital divide"between rich and poor countries and hopeful that information and computing technologies could increase economic growth in developing countries. But very little research has explored the reasons for the digital divide beyond noting that it is strongly correlated with standard development indicators, and no empirical research has explored the role of regulation. The author uses data from a unique new survey of telecommunications regulators and other sources to measure the effects of regulation in Internet development. He finds regulation strongly correlated with lower Internet penetration and higher Internet access charges. More specifically, controlling for factors such as income, development of the telecommunications infrastructure, ubiquity of personal computers, and time trends, countries that require formal regulatory approval for Internet service providers (ISPs) to begin operations have fewer Internet users and Internet hosts than countries that do not require such approval. Moreover, countries that regulate ISP final-user prices have higher Internet access prices than countries that do not have such regulations. These results suggest that developing countries'own regulatory policies can have large impacts on the digital divide.

Suggested Citation

  • Wallsten, Scott, 2003. "Regulation and internet use in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2979, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2979
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Suma S. Athreye, 2005. "The Indian software industry and its evolving service capability," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 393-418, June.
    2. Dasgupta, Susmita & Lall, Somik & Wheeler, David, 2001. "Policy reform, economic growth, and the digital divide - an econometric analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2567, The World Bank.
    3. Clarke, George R.G., 2002. "Does Internet Connectivity Affect Export Performance? Evidence from Transition Economies," WIDER Working Paper Series 074, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Clarke, George R.G., 2001. "Bridging the digital divide - how enterprise ownership and foreign competition affect Internet access in Eastern Europe and Central Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2629, The World Bank.
    5. Kenny, Charles, 2002. "The Internet and Economic Growth in Least Developed Countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 075, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. W. Edward STEINMUELLER, 2001. "ICTs and the possibilities for leapfrogging by developing countries," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 140(2), pages 193-210, June.
    7. Pohjola, Matti, 2002. "New Economy in Growth and Development," WIDER Working Paper Series 067, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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    Cited by:

    1. Clarke, George R.G. & Wallsten, Scott J., 2004. "Has the internet increased trade? Evidence from industrial and developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3215, The World Bank.
    2. Andrea Bonaccorsi & Lucia Piscitello & Cristina Rossi, 2007. "Explaining the Territorial Adoption of New Technologies: A Spatial Econometric Approach," Chapters,in: Applied Evolutionary Economics and Economic Geography, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Yartey, Charles Amo, 2008. "Financial development, the structure of capital markets, and the global digital divide," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 208-227, June.
    4. Shchetinin, Oleg & Baptiste, Massenot, 2008. "How to Overcome the Digital Divide? The Determinants of Internet Diffusion," MPRA Paper 9413, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Clarke, George R.G., 2005. "Beyond tariffs and quotas : why don't African manufacturers export more?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3617, The World Bank.
    6. M'HENNI, Hatem, 2004. "La fracture numérique Nord-Sud de la méditerranée; une explication néo-institutionnelle
      [A digital divide between north and south of Mediterranean sea: A neo-institutional explanation]
      ," MPRA Paper 27548, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Charles Amo Yartey, 2006. "Financial Development, the Structure of Capital Markets, and the Global Digital Divide," IMF Working Papers 06/258, International Monetary Fund.

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    Keywords

    Education for the Knowledge Economy; Knowledge Economy; ICT Policy and Strategies; Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Theory&Research;

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