Political Determinants of Fiscal Transparency

Empirical evidence on the beneficial effects of fiscal transparency ranges from improved budgetary outcomes, to lower sovereign borrowing costs and decreased corruption. Despite this, hardly any effort has been invested in exploring the determinants of fiscal transparency. Using a new 85-country dataset, we focus on two important sources of domestic demand for open budgeting: citizens and legislators. Our results suggest that free and fair elections have a significant direct effect on budgetary disclosure, and that they dampen the adverse effect on fiscal transparency of dependence on natural resource revenues. We also find that partisan fragmentation in the legislature is associated with higher levels of budgetary disclosure.