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Democracy and Transparency

34 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2011  

B. Peter Rosendorff

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

James R. Hollyer

Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota

James Raymond Vreeland

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS); Georgetown University - Department of Government

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 27, 2011

Abstract

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 policy-making 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? Or, instead, do electoral politics generate incentives to obfuscate information? 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 level of development, participation in IMF programs, country-specific effects, and the effects of time. Democracies are indeed more transparent.

Suggested Citation

Rosendorff, B. Peter and Hollyer, James R. and Vreeland, James Raymond, Democracy and Transparency (January 27, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1750824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1750824

Bryan Peter Rosendorff (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

19 West 4th St.
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

James R. Hollyer

Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota ( email )

1414 Social Sciences
267 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jameshollyer.com

James Raymond Vreeland

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-7846 (Phone)
202-687-5116 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.profvreeland.com/

Georgetown University - Department of Government

United States
202-687-7846 (Phone)
202-687-5116 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.profvreeland.com/

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