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Global Communications and National Power: Life on the Pareto Frontier


Regime analysis has focused on issues of market failure, the resolution of which depends upon knowledge and institution building. Global communications regimes, however, have been concerned either with issues of pure coordination or with coordination problems with distributional consequences. Outcomes have been decided by the underlying distribution of national power. In those areas where power was asymmetrically distributed and there was no agreement on basic principles and norms—radio broadcasting and remote sensing—no regime was formed. In those areas where distributional issues could not be unilaterally resolved—allocation of the radio spectrum and telecommunications—regimes were created, although both principles and rules changed with alterations in national power capabilities.

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David Marks , “Broadcasting across the Wall: The Free Flow of Information between East and West Germany,” Journal of Communication 33 (Winter 1983), 4655, at 47

Douglas Boyd , “Pirate Radio in Britain: A Programming Alternative,” Journal of Communication 36 (Spring 1986), 8394, at 86–92.

Andrea Kavanaugh , “Star WARCs and the New System: An Analysis of U.S. International Satellite Policy Formation,” Telecommunications Policy (June 1986), 93106, at 105.

Richard R. Colino , “Global Politics and INTELSAT: The Conduct of Foreign Relations in an Electronically Wired World,” Telecommunications Policy 10 (September 1986), 199.

Ronald Coase , “The Problem of Social Cost,” Journal of Law and Economics 3 (1960), 144.

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World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
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