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The uncertain relationship between transparency and accountability

  • Fox, Jonathan A
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    The concepts of transparency and accountability are closely linked: transparency is supposed to generate accountability. This article questions this widely held assumption. Transparency mobilises the power of shame, yet the shameless may not be vulnerable to public exposure. Truth often fails to lead to justice. After exploring different definitions and dimensions of the two ideas, the more relevant question turns out tobe: what kinds of transparency lead to what kinds of accountability, and under what conditions? The article concludes by proposing that the concept can be unpacked in terms of two distinct variants. Transparency can be either ‘clear’or‘opaque’, while accountability can be either‘soft’or‘hard’.

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    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/8c25c3z4.pdf;origin=repeccitec
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    Paper provided by Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz in its series Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt8c25c3z4.

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    Date of creation: 01 Aug 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:glinre:qt8c25c3z4
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/cgirs/

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    1. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
    2. Konar, Shameek & Cohen, Mark A., 1997. "Information As Regulation: The Effect of Community Right to Know Laws on Toxic Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 109-124, January.
    3. Mark Stephan, 2002. "Environmental Information Disclosure Programs: They Work, but Why?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 83(1), pages 190-205.
    4. Fox, Jonathan A, 2007. "Mexico's Right-to-Know Reforms: Civil Society Perspectives," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt34w393zn, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
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