Understanding and Measuring Online Fiscal Transparency

E-Government and Websites: A Public Solutions Handbook, edited by Aroon Manohoran. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Forthcoming

45 Pages Posted: 2 May 2014

See all articles by Jonathan B. Justice

Jonathan B. Justice

University of Delaware, School of Public Policy & Administration

John McNutt

University of Delaware

Edward Smith

University of Delaware, School of Public Policy & Admin.

Date Written: April 30, 2014

Abstract

The movement toward open government and fiscal transparency is a worldwide effort that promises the possibility of better and stronger democracy. Transparency is also presumed to help combat corruption and waste. Greater transparency in government thus has been an important goal of many reformers both outside and within governments over many decades, and contemporary methods of online information dissemination and communication are seen as one important set of tools for fostering transparency. But how do we know transparency when we see it? Efforts both to understand the extent and quality of online fiscal transparency and to implement or improve transparency are facilitated by good measures of quantity and quality.

This chapter reviews efforts by academic experts and advocacy organizations to measure and evaluate fiscal transparency in order to draw from those efforts suggestions for the practice of fiscal transparency. An examination of these research efforts reveals significant progress in conceptualization and measurement toward addressing a number of methodological and epistemological issues that concern researchers in the field. The examination also indicates that measures such as those produced by a number of public-interest and academic researchers, although still imperfect from an academic perspective, nonetheless can provide useful guidance for practitioners and citizens seeking to understand and improve their jurisdictions' e-fiscal transparency.We conclude by synthesizing the key elements we found in the literature into a framework for conceptualizing, measuring, and implementing online fiscal transparency, and by drawing lessons for continuing efforts to advance the understanding and practice of transparency.

Keywords: transparency, e-government, fiscal transparency

JEL Classification: H39, H79

Suggested Citation

Justice, Jonathan B. and McNutt, John and Smith, Edward, Understanding and Measuring Online Fiscal Transparency (April 30, 2014). E-Government and Websites: A Public Solutions Handbook, edited by Aroon Manohoran. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2431495

Jonathan B. Justice (Contact Author)

University of Delaware, School of Public Policy & Administration ( email )

Newark, DE 19716
United States

John McNutt

University of Delaware ( email )

Newark, DE 19711
United States

Edward Smith

University of Delaware, School of Public Policy & Admin. ( email )

Newark, DE 19711
United States

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