Developing the Internet: Entrepreneurship and Public Policy in Comparative Perspective

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DEVELOPING THE INTERNET: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND PUBLIC POLICY IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE*

Sandra L. Suárez Department of Political Science Temple University Gladfelter Hall Philadelphia, PA 19122 (215) 204-1468 ssuarez@nimbus.temple.edu and Mauro F. Guillén The Wharton School and Department of Sociology University of Pennsylvania 2016 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370 215-573-6267 guillen@wharton.upenn.edu

November 2000 Version

*

This research has been funded by Temple University (Suárez) and the Wharton

eBusiness Initiative, WeBI (Guillén).

2

DEVELOPING THE INTERNET: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND PUBLIC POLICY IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

Abstract The internet has not diffused uniformly throughout the world. Data on 142 countries indicate that, aside from the levels of economic and infrastructural development, cross-national differences have to do with whether the legal system fosters entrepreneurship, and with whether institutional and political conditions are stable, and democracy is the form of government. Competition and privatization policies in the area of telecommunications do not have consistent effects. After examining international patterns of diffusion for the world as a whole, differences between two matched pairs of countries are systematically compared: Ireland and Singapore, and Argentina and Spain. Patterns of entrepreneurship and public policy in each country are shown to have differed systematically, with distinctive consequences for the development of the internet.

Keywords: Worldwide diffusion of the internet; entrepreneurship; privatization.

3 1. Introduction The internet has not diffused throughout the world in a uniform way. The percentage of the population who is a regular user ranges from over fifty percent in Scandinavia to less than 1 percent in many underdeveloped African, Central American, and…...

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