Democratic rule is maintained so long as all relevant actors in the political system comply with the institutional rules of the game-democratic institutions must be self-enforcing. We examine the role of transparency in supporting a democratic equilibrium. Transparency improves the functioning of elections: In transparent polities, elections more effectively resolve adverse selection problems between the public and their rulers. Transparency increases popular satisfaction with democracy and inhibits challenges to the democratic order. We provide a game-theoretic model, test these claims, and find they enjoy empirical support. Transparency is associated with a reduction in both the probability of democratic collapse and of the irregular removal of democratic leaders. Transparency stabilizes democratic rule.
- democratic consolidation
- leader removal
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science