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Transparency for governance: The mechanisms and effectiveness of disclosure-based and education-based transparency policies

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  • Mitchell, Ronald B.

Abstract

When transparency is used as a tool for global environmental governance - i.e., to induce targeted actors to reduce environmentally-harmful behaviors, it can operate via disclosure or education. Disclosure-based policies improve the information the public has about targeted actors' behaviors while education-based policies improve the information targeted actors have about their own behaviors, whether that is information about consequences, alternatives, or social norms. Various social and political forces shape whether and what type of transparency policies are adopted. Disclosure-based and education-based transparency policies are effective under different conditions and operate through different mechanisms. Both often operate through mechanisms that reflect an instrumental logic of consequences but also can and do operate through mechanisms that reflect a normative logic of appropriateness, by increasing the legitimacy accorded to global environmental norms and the social accountability targeted actors feel regarding their behaviors. Understanding the differences in the mechanisms by which disclosure-based and education-based transparency policies operate suggests that both scholars and practitioners should use caution in understanding why, and predicting when, such policies will work.

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  • Mitchell, Ronald B., 2011. "Transparency for governance: The mechanisms and effectiveness of disclosure-based and education-based transparency policies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1882-1890, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:11:p:1882-1890
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    Cited by:

    1. Spagnuolo, Francesca, 2011. "Diversity and pluralism in earth system governance: Contemplating the role for global administrative law," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1875-1881, September.
    2. Biermann, Frank & Gupta, Aarti, 2011. "Accountability and legitimacy in earth system governance: A research framework," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1856-1864, September.
    3. Dryzek, John S. & Stevenson, Hayley, 2011. "Global democracy and earth system governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1865-1874, September.
    4. Wolfe, Robert, 2013. "Letting the sun shine in at the WTO: How transparency brings the trading system to life," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2013-03, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.

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