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Transparenting Transparency: Intial Empirics and Policy Applications

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  • Kaufmann, Daniel
  • Bellver, Ana

Abstract

Major conceptual contributions of a number of Nobel-laureates in putting forth a framework linking the citizenry's right to know and access to information with development, have already had a major influence in various fields. However, implementation of transparency-related reforms on the ground remains checkered around the globe. Further, in contrast with other dimensions of governance -such as rule of law and regulatory burden-, there is a gap between the extent of the conceptual contributions in the transparency field and the progress on its measurement and empirical analysis, which has been wanting. Our paper is a contribution attempting to partly fill these empirical and policy-related gaps. We contribute to empirics by undertaking an initial construction of a transparency index for 194 countries based on over twenty 20 independent sources. An Unobserved Component Model (UCM) was used to generate the country ratings and the margins of error. The indices comprise an aggregate transparency index with two sub-components: economic/institutional transparency, and political transparency. The results emphasize variance. Exemplary transparency is not the exclusive domain of a particular region, and there are transparency-related challenges in countries in each region and income categories. Further, there is significant within-country variation, with large differences in performance between economic/institutional and political dimensions of transparency. Mindful of the challenges in inferring causality, we also find that transparency is associated with better socio-economic and human development indicators, as well as with higher competitiveness and lower corruption. Much progress can be attained without requiring inordinate amount of resources, since transparency reforms can be substantial net 'savers' of public resources, and often can serve as a more efficient and less financially costly substitute to creating additional regulations and/or regulatory or governance bodies. We provide a number of concrete examples of specific transparency-related reforms within a strategic framework, as well as a brief country illustration - the case of Chile.

Suggested Citation

  • Kaufmann, Daniel & Bellver, Ana, 2005. "Transparenting Transparency: Intial Empirics and Policy Applications," MPRA Paper 8188, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8188
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/8188/1/MPRA_paper_8188.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Williams, Andrew, 2011. "Shining a Light on the Resource Curse: An Empirical Analysis of the Relationship Between Natural Resources, Transparency, and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 490-505, April.
    2. Kolstad, Ivar & Wiig, Arne, 2009. "Is Transparency the Key to Reducing Corruption in Resource-Rich Countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 521-532, March.
    3. World Bank Group, 2014. "Strategic Framework for Mainstreaming Citizen Engagement in World Bank Group Operations," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 21113.
    4. Williams, Andrew, 2015. "A global index of information transparency and accountability," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 804-824.
    5. Fauver, Larry & McDonald, Michael B., 2014. "International variation in sin stocks and its effects on equity valuation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 173-187.
    6. Mona Said, 2007. "The Fall and Rise of Earnings and Inequality in Egypt: New Evidence From the ELMPS, 2006," Working Papers 708, Economic Research Forum, revised 01 Jan 2007.
    7. Michener, Gregory, 2015. "Policy Evaluation via Composite Indexes: Qualitative Lessons from International Transparency Policy Indexes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 184-196.
    8. Rasoul Sadeghi Barzani, 2014. "The Effect of Regulation on the Quality of Published Information Disclosure of Listed Companies in Tehran Stock Exchange," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 327-333, April.
    9. repec:eee:corfin:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:84-103 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

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