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The rise of the policy-takers: Universal service policy adoption in Jordan and Morocco

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In the late 1990s, Jordan and Morocco revised their telecommunications regulation drastically. Though these regulations were first largely inspired by the European Union policy models, each country gradually developed more autonomy, individually tailoring their regulatory frameworks overtime. The case of Universal Service Obligation (USO) policies show that while Jordan remained aligned with the European Union, Moroccan policy-makers diverged from the European Union by adopting alternative policies, inspired by the Latin American reverse-auction models. Research focusing on Euro-Mediterranean egulatory contexts commonly expect neighbouring countries to converge with EU regulatory models. Yet, borrowing on policy diffusion literature and specifically the mechanisms of learning and imitation, this article shows that policy-takers intentionally decided on the (non)adoption of USO policies. Thus, research needs to take the role of policy-takers seriously and acknowledge avenues for bidirectional convergence.
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Keywords: bidirectional convergence; global South; internet access; policy diffusion; regulatory emancipation; telecommunications infrastructure; universal service

Affiliations: University of St. Gallen

Appeared or available online: September 26, 2020

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