Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Towards Transparency in Finance and Governance

Contents:

Author Info

  • Tara Vishwanath

    (The World Bank)

  • Daniel Kaufmann

    (The World Bank)

Abstract

The study of transparency is increasingly a more topical, broadly relevant, but also more under-researched enterprise. The Asian financial crisis has highlighted not only the welfare consequences of financial sector transparency, sparking a series of yet unresolved debates, but has also linked this relatively narrow problem to the broader context of transparency in governance. Its significance has broadened geographically as well as across different sectors. It has been observed that curtailment of transparency, often on scanty pretexts, is commonplace even in the highly developed countries. This suggests a broad and possibly radical reform agenda. Departing from the urgency of these observations, this paper reviews the existing literature on transparency in finance and governance, indicates remaining knowledge gaps, and offers some hypothesis on the mutual significance of the two issues. The first two sections of the paper outlines a conceptual framework for defining and measuring transparency that distinguishes among its desirable characteristics; access, timeliness, relevance, and quality. It also suggests methodologies that may produce tractable measures of transparency. Additionally, it places in context debates concerning transparency; its desirability, contingency, complexity and regulation. Reviewing critiques of objections against disclosure, the chapter advances a general preference for transparency, not only in the developing but also in the developed world. Nevertheless, it emphasizes the need to weigh the costs and benefits of more transparency in designing regulatory policy. In general, while consequences of information imperfections are well recognized, the solution is not simply a matter of more information. The third section treats the role of transparency in promoting greater financial stability, acknowledging exceptions to the general preference expressed earlier, in relation to financial stability. It treats as priority policy issues the following problems: developing institutional infrastructure, developing standards and accounting practices, improving incentives for disclosure and balancing countervailing regulations to minimize perverse incentives generated by safety net arrangements such as deposit insurance. An important suggestion is that since institutional development is gradual, relatively simple regulations such as limits on credit expansion, may be best tailored to developing countries. Implicit in this section is the notion that there are absolute limits to transparency, in particular for lack of adequate enforcement. The last section elaborates on the concomitant link between financial markets and governance, discussing select consequences of transparency for national-level and local governance, identifying some policy implications and suggesting further research issues. As illustrated by the case of Indonesia, it argues that financial reform may be predicated on broader public sector reforms. Again, because formal institutions take time to develop, it highlights three principles of reform to promote incentives for openness: harnessing private sector participation in service provision, promoting exit and contestability, and encouraging "voice" and public participation. These are now increasingly being integrated to new innovative data collection and analysis techniques, and to particular dissemination methods promoting collective action to improve governance and enhance transparency. The chapter concludes by outlining the difficulties of implementing greater participation and voice.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/fin/papers/0308/0308009.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Finance with number 0308009.

as in new window
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 26 Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0308009

Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; pages: 30
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://128.118.178.162

Related research

Keywords: financial liberalization; transparency; corruption; governance; banking crisis; asymmetric information; local investors; shocks; bad loans; emerging markets;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Jason Furman & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1998. "Economic Crises: Evidence and Insights from East Asia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 1-136.
  2. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  3. Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Tito Cordella, 1997. "Public Disclosure and Bank Failures," IMF Working Papers 97/96, International Monetary Fund.
  4. George A. Akerlof & Paul M. Romer, 1993. "Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 1-74.
  5. Eric S. Rosengren, 1998. "Will greater disclosure and transparency prevent the next banking crisis?," Working Papers 98-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. David M. Kemme, 2000. "Russian Financial Transition: The Development of Institutions and Markets for Growth," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 455, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0308009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.