Creating a Regulatory Space: Spectrum Trade Deal and the Competition Commission of India

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Abstract

This case brings out the role of regulatory institutions in the evolving policy domain of the telecom sector in developing countries. The institutional environments in developed and emerging economies differ significantly in terms of the formalisation of processes within and across organisations and human resource capabilities of staff in regulatory and policy agencies. Compared to those in developed countries, regulatory institutions in many emerging economies are of more recent origins and are at an early stage of evolution and hence lack well-established roles, responsibilities and processes. The role of institutions is more important in developed economies than in developing countries, as the latter are characterised by a poor institutional environment and often have inappropriate organisational structures for governance, which may not provide adequate guidelines for operationalisation of new instruments. Since the design of processes may not be well defined, relevant agencies may need to establish their role in regulation and evolve a policy for their legitimisation. The relationship between the regulatory agency and the regulated entities is not just hierarchical but complex, dynamic and negotiated.

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