Telecommunications regulatory reform is a recent phenomenon in small island developing states, including in five Pacific island states in the past five years. Opportunities for regulatory capture exist when independent regulators are vulnerable to political pressure. There is therefore a case for external multilateral policy restraint to deter policymakers from reneging on policies. This study estimates the impact of the telecommunications commitments of the WTO on a panel data set of 160 developing countries (including 26 small island developing states) during the period 1995-2006. Preliminary evidence is that the credibility of telecommunications reform in small island developing states is enhanced via commitments to WTO telecommunications agreements that lock in domestic reforms. No evidence was found that signing on to bilateral investment treaties enhanced the credibility of telecommunications reform in small island developing states.
|Pacific Economic Bulletin
|Published - 2009