We present case studies of the evolution of regulatory independence in practice in the telecommunications industry for 23 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Based on these studies, we construct two realistic indices of regulatory independence, which improve upon the measures of independence that have been used so far in the empirical regulation literature. We show that legal indices may give a partially distorted picture of the commitment ability of institutions. Basic illustrative econometrics suggests that the combination of de facto and de jure independence has a positive and significant impact on network penetration. © 2009, Inderscience Publishers.
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