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Do Freedom of Information Laws Decrease Corruption?


  • Tavares, Samia


It has been argued that greater transparency is needed to reduce corruption. One way of increasing transparency is through the adoption of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. This paper uses the introduction of FOI laws as a natural experiment to determine their effect on corruption. Using a sample of democratic countries and two different corruption indices, I find that countries that adopted FOI laws saw an increase in corruption. Results are robust throughout different specifications. Moreover, I find that countries with plurality systems potentially experienced a decrease in corruption following the adoption of FOI legislation. Having a parliamentary system, however, had no impact on the effect of the reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Tavares, Samia, 2007. "Do Freedom of Information Laws Decrease Corruption?," MPRA Paper 3560, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:3560

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Corruption; freedom of information; transparency; accountability;

    JEL classification:

    • K39 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Other
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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