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What is Government Transparency? - New Measures and Relevance for Quality of Government

Magazine article
Authors Monika Bauhr
Marcia Grimes
Published in QOG Working Paper Series
ISSN 1653-8919
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Subject categories Political Science


As policymakers and researchers focus increasing attention on the importance of government transparency for accountability and good governance more generally, the demand for greater con-ceptual clarity and authoritative measures of government transparency increases. Transparency advocates maintain that greater access to government information is the sine qua non of greater accountability and better quality of government in the long term. As a concept, transparency is, similar to rule of law or democracy, difficult to capture with single empirical indicators. This paper introduces a set of measures that we argue together capture key components of government trans-parency: government openness, whistleblower protection and likelihood of exposure (or publicity). The transparency data, collected through an expert survey carried out by the Quality of Government Institute, currently cover 52 countries with additional countries to be added in subse-quent surveys. This paper explores these new measures in an effort to determine their validity and robustness.

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