The Limits of Transparency

Public Administration Review, Vol. 74, No. 6, pp. 687-88, 2014

2 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2015 Last revised: 3 Mar 2016

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: November 5, 2014


Transparency, defined as the principle of enabling the public to gain information about the operations and structures of a given entity, has become increasingly popular in recent decades due to ideological and political developments. However, transparency is not a viable substitute for regulation. Regulation is needed to ensure that the information disclosed through transparency is accurate and accessible. Moreover, transparency's effectiveness in achieving accountability requires conditions of civic and democratic engagement that do not hold in practice. When there are compelling reasons to advance a particular public good, transparency can help regulation but cannot replace it.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, The Limits of Transparency (November 5, 2014). Public Administration Review, Vol. 74, No. 6, pp. 687-88, 2014. Available at SSRN:

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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