IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

International Coercion, Emulation and Policy Diffusion: Market-Oriented Infrastructure Reforms, 1977-1999


  • Witold J. Henisz


  • Bennet A. Zelner


  • Mauro F. Guillen



Why do some countries adopt market-oriented reforms such as deregulation, privatization and liberalization of competition in their infrastructure industries while others do not? Why did the pace of adoption accelerate in the 1990s? Building on neo-institutional theory in sociology, we argue that the domestic adoption of market-oriented reforms is strongly influenced by international pressures of coercion and emulation. We find robust support for these arguments with an event-history analysis of the determinants of reform in the telecommunications and electricity sectors of as many as 205 countries and territories between 1977 and 1999. Our results also suggest that the coercive effect of multilateral lending from the IMF, the World Bank or Regional Development Banks is increasing over time, a finding that is consistent with anecdotal evidence that multilateral organizations have broadened the scope of the ???conditionality??? terms specifying market-oriented reforms imposed on borrowing countries. We discuss the possibility that, by pressuring countries into policy reform, cross-national coercion and emulation may not produce ideal outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Witold J. Henisz & Bennet A. Zelner & Mauro F. Guillen, 2004. "International Coercion, Emulation and Policy Diffusion: Market-Oriented Infrastructure Reforms, 1977-1999," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-713, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-713

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vreeland,James Raymond, 2003. "The IMF and Economic Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521816755, March.
    2. Sudeshna Ghosh Banerjee & Michael C. Munger, 2004. "Move to markets? An empirical analysis of privatization in developing countries," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 213-240.
    3. Gutierrez, Luis H. & Berg, Sanford, 2000. "Telecommunications liberalization and regulatory governance: lessons from Latin America," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(10-11), pages 865-884, November.
    4. Stephen J. Kobrin, 1985. "Diffusion as an Explanation of Oil Nationalization," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 29(1), pages 3-32, March.
    5. Eduardo Lora & Ugo Panizza, 2002. "Structural Reforms in Latin America under Scrutiny," Research Department Publications 4303, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    6. Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, 2003. "Political Economy Influences Within the Life-Cycle of IMF Programmes," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(9), pages 1255-1278, September.
    7. Aaron Tornell, 1998. "Reform from Within," NBER Working Papers 6497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Nancy Brune & Geoffrey Garrett & Bruce Kogut, 2004. "The International Monetary Fund and the Global Spread of Privatization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(2), pages 1-1.
    9. Bird, Graham, 1996. "The International Monetary Fund and developing countries: a review of the evidence and policy options," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 477-511, June.
    10. Glick, Reuven & Rose, Andrew K., 1999. "Contagion and trade: Why are currency crises regional?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 603-617, August.
    11. Mohsin S. Khan & Sunil Sharma, 2001. "IMF Conditionality and Country Ownership of Programs," IMF Working Papers 01/142, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Lora, Eduardo, 1998. "What Makes Reforms Likely? Timing and Sequencing of Structural Reforms in Latin America," Working Papers 244240, Inter-American Development Bank.
    13. David Stasavage, 2000. "Private Investment and Political Uncertainty," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 25, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    14. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
    15. Christopher R. Knittel, 2006. "THE ADOPTION OF STATE ELECTRICITY REGULATION: THE ROLE OF INTEREST GROUPS -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 201-222, June.
    16. Wamukonya, Njeri, 2003. "Power sector reform in developing countries: mismatched agendas," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 1273-1289, September.
    17. Witold J. Henisz & Bennet A. Zelner, 2001. "The Institutional Environment for Telecommunications Investment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 123-147, March.
    18. International Monetary Fund, 1998. "Do IMF-Supported Programs Work? A Survey of the Cross-Country Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 98/169, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Przeworski, Adam & Vreeland, James Raymond, 2000. "The effect of IMF programs on economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 385-421, August.
    20. Fink, Carsten & Mattoo, Aaditya & Rathindran, Randeep, 2003. "An assessment of telecommunications reform in developing countries," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 443-466, December.
    21. John Williamson, 1994. "The Political Economy of Policy Reform," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 68.
    22. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-1188, December.
    23. Eising, Rainer, 2002. "Policy Learning in Embedded Negotiations: Explaining EU Electricity Liberalization," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 85-120, December.
    24. Torsten Persson, 2002. "Do Political Institutions Shape Economic Policy?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 883-905, May.
    25. Vreeland,James Raymond, 2003. "The IMF and Economic Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521016957, March.
    26. Gene M. Grossman (ed.), 1996. "Economic Growth," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 553.
    27. Ariel BUIRA, 2003. "An Analysis Of Imf Conditionality," G-24 Discussion Papers 22, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    28. Artana, Daniel & Navajas, Fernando & Urbiztondo, Santiago, 2001. "Regulation policies towards utilities and competitive industries. The case of Argentina," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 585-607.
    29. William B. Heller & Mathew D. McCubbins, 1996. "Politics, institutions, and outcomes: Electricity regulation in Argentina and Chile," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(4), pages 357-387.
    30. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:04:p:837-857_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    31. Levy, Brian & Spiller, Pablo T, 1994. "The Institutional Foundations of Regulatory Commitment: A Comparative Analysis of Telecommunications Regulation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 201-246, October.
    32. Eckhard Janeba, 2002. "Attracting Fdi in a Politically Risky World," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1127-1155, November.
    33. Lora, Eduardo, 1998. "What Makes Reforms Likely? Timing and Sequencing of Structural Reforms in Latin America," Working Papers 244240, Inter-American Development Bank.
    34. Clarke, George R G & Cull, Robert, 2002. "Political and Economic Determinants of the Likelihood of Privatizing Argentine Public Banks," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 165-197, April.
    35. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:171-189_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    36. Palmer, Karen & Ando, Amy, 1998. "Getting on the Map: The Political Economy of State-Level Electricity Restructuring," Discussion Papers dp-98-19-rev, Resources For the Future.
    37. Drazen, Allan & Grilli, Vittorio, 1993. "The Benefit of Crises for Economic Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 598-607, June.
    38. James M. Boughton, 2003. "Who's in Charge? Ownership and Conditionality in IMF-Supported Programs," IMF Working Papers 03/191, International Monetary Fund.
    39. W. J. Henisz, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Economic Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 1-31, March.
    40. Joskow, Paul L, 1987. "Contract Duration and Relationship-Specific Investments: Empirical Evidence from Coal Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 168-185, March.
    41. Li, Wei & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2002. "The Political Economy of Privatization and Competition: Cross-Country Evidence from the Telecommunications Sector," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 439-462, September.
    42. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-1155, December.
    43. repec:cup:apsrev:v:69:y:1975:i:04:p:1299-1315_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2014. "Investment, security of supply and sustainability in the aftermath of three decades of power sector reform," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 1-8.
    2. Estache, Antonio & Goicoechea, Ana, 2005. "A"research"database on infrastructure economic performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3643, The World Bank.
    3. Jamasb, T. & Mota, R. & Newbery, D. & Pollitt, M., 2004. "‘Electricity Sector Reform in Developing Countries: A Survey of Empirical Evidence on Determinants and Performance’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0439, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item


    Privatization; deregulation; liberalization; infrastructure; International Monetary Fund (IMF); World Bank; Multileral Institutions; Development; Reform; Globalization; Adoption; International;

    JEL classification:

    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-713. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (WDI). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.