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Does deregulation drive innovation intensity? Lessons learned from the OECD telecommunications sector

Polemis, Michael and Tselekounis, Markos (2019): Does deregulation drive innovation intensity? Lessons learned from the OECD telecommunications sector.

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Abstract

The channel between innovation and industry regulation constitutes a non-lasting debate among the economists and researchers within the recent years. Despite the significant contributions on this field, mostly made from the empirical standpoint, the existing literature is still incomplete. This might be attributed to the fact that existing studies fail to combine a strong theoretical framework with the empirical scrutiny in order to exemplify and decompose the relationship between regulation intensity and innovation activity. We attempt to shed light on this limitation by theoretically modeling the telecommunications sector, in which access regulation impacts the non-separable activity in process and product innovation. We then empirically test our model by deploying an efficient panel threshold technique along the lines of Hansen (1999). Our balanced panel dataset comprises of 32 OECD countries over the period 1995-2012. The empirical results unveil a non-monotonic relationship of an “inverted V-shaped” form between regulation and innovation. We argue that beyond certain thresholds increasing the regulatory stringency further results in decreasing sector innovation. Our findings survive robustness checks after the inclusion of two alternative threshold variables (market structure and entry regulation) incurring significant implications for the policy makers and government officials.

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