Democracy and transparency

James R. Hollyer, B. Peter Rosendorff, James Raymond Vreeland

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Are democracies more transparent than other types of political regimes? Many people believe that the presence of elections alone is not sufficient for a country to be considered democratic and that transparency must be included as part of the definition of political regime. We agree that contestability of elections and transparency of policymaking are analytically distinct concepts. Adopting minimalist approaches to democracy and transparency, we ask a basic question: do electoral politics provide incentives for governments to disseminate data? We thus investigate theoretically the relationship between regime type and the willingness of policy makers to provide credible announcements on policy-relevant variables. And we demonstrate empirically that the availability (or absence) of policy-relevant data is correlated with regime type, even after controlling for GDP per capita, IMF participation, country fixed-effects, and time trends1. Democracies are indeed more transparent.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1191-1205
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Politics
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Oct 2011

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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