Moving beyond dichotomy: Comparing composite telecommunications regulatory governance indices

Brandie L. Martin, Krishna Jayakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Despite an apparent consensus about the importance of the quality of telecommunications regulatory agencies, there is no agreement among researchers about how to measure it. While dichotomous coding of de jure independence has served as a proxy to measure whether an agency's regulatory governance is transparent, non-arbitrary, and free from political influence, we view measuring multiple components of regulatory governance including incorporating measures of regulatory independence into a composite index as providing a more nuanced understanding of facilitating or inhibiting factors. This paper compares composite telecommunications regulatory independence indices and regulatory governance indices available in the literature in order to construct more parsimonious indices. Using a methodology labeled "qualitative meta-synthesis" based on synthesizing previously published indices, we construct six different indices using combinations of 32 different variables, and different weights. Data from the OECD database are used to re-create the five original indices from the literature as well as our own six composites. Some of these indices (original and composites) were found to be negatively correlated with independent measures of regulatory governance such as the World Bank's Government Effectiveness Index and the Rule of Law Index; this may be attributable to the fact that countries, and especially those with poor overall governance standards, may need to put in place stronger telecommunications governance institutions in order to attract telecommunications investment to the country. The analysis suggests that a parsimonious index of as few as seven variables is capable of measuring the quality of telecommunications governance in a country, at the same time making the selection of variables and their weighting in the index more systematic than in previously available indices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-701
Number of pages11
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Information Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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