Forget Transparency. Focus on the Honeypot.
6 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2019
Date Written: November 11, 2017
Transparency about the identity of donors and lobbyists is often seen as crucial to maintaining local government integrity. However, a growing body of evidence shows that transparency alone is rarely effective at removing the temptation, or indeed the action, of favouring related parties through local government decisions such as zoning and government procurement. A better way to tackle this temptation is to focus on the ‘honeypot’, or the private value of public decisions. Removing the value of favours, such as by charging market prices for favourable rezoning decision, removes the economic incentive to donate or lobby local government representatives in the first place. The ACT has successfully maintained such a planning system for nearly half a century, and if it was adopted in other states in Australia it would raise $11 billion per year rather than allowing that multi-billion dollar honeypot to be given to private interests with political discretion.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation