Why Policymakers Commit to Transparency: Legitimacy, Insurance, Monitoring, and the Importance of the News Media as Mediator

March, 2015 | By Gregory Michener (GIFT) and the International Budget Partnership

Why Policymakers Commit to TransparencyBy now it has become apparent that not all ‘transparency’ is transparent, nor is transparency an unalloyed good in all arenas. Transparency may not even lead to greater trust or participation, as the transparency and accountability community and sloganeers would have us believe. Yet effective transparency is an indisputable precondition for key accountability processes, healthy markets and better government. In short, it is important as a general precondition for quality governance to merit greater commitments from policymakers.

This working paper aims to provide shortcuts for understanding the motivations and incentives that drive commitments to transparency. In so doing it seeks to better understand the ‘who’, ‘why’, and ‘when’ of coaxing commitments for transparency and more effective policy.