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Indignation or Resignation: The Implications of Transparency for Societal Accountability

Journal article
Authors Monika Bauhr
Marcia Grimes
Published in Governance-an International Journal of Policy Administration and Institutions
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 291-320
ISSN 0952-1895
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 291-320
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/gove.12033
Keywords REDUCING CORRUPTION, CENTRAL GOVERNMENT, POLITICAL TRUST, QUALITY, ATTITUDES, DEMOCRACY, INSTITUTIONS, INFORMATION, GOVERNANCE, OPACITY, VELOPMENT, P1, CUBBINS MD, 1984, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, V28, P165, LLER AH, 1974, AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, V68, P951
Subject categories Political Science

Abstract

International organizations, policy experts, and nongovernmental organizations promote greater governmental transparency as a crucial reform to enhance accountability and curb corruption. Transparency is predicted to deter corruption in part by expanding the possibilities for public or societal accountability, that is, for citizens and citizens associations to monitor, scrutinize, and act to hold public office holders to account. Although the societal accountability mechanism linking transparency and good government is often implied, it builds on a number of assumptions seldom examined empirically. This article unpacks the assumptions of principal-agent theories of accountability and suggests that the logic of collective action can be used to understand why exposure of egregious and endemic corruption may instead demobilize the demos (i.e., resignation) rather than enhance accountability (i.e., indignation). We explore these theoretical contentions and examine how transparency affects three indicators of indignations versus resignation-institutional trust, political involvement, and political interest-given different levels of corruption. The empirical analyses confirm that an increase in transparency in highly corrupt countries tends to breed resignation rather than indignation.

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http://gu.se/english/research/publication/?publicationId=197217
Utskriftsdatum: 2019-11-19