Access to Information Laws and Voter Behavior: Does Transparency Increase Participation?
61 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2019 Last revised: 23 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 21, 2020
Electoral participation is an integral component of democracy and can be an effective tool in the battle against corruption. However, encouraging participation in areas with highly corrupt governments is difficult. In this paper, I explore the role of transparency in voter turnout. I exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the municipal implementation of Brazil’s 2011 Access to Public Information (ATI) law on voter turnout in mayoral elections. I find that municipal ATI laws increase broad participation overall but are most effective when coupled with a commitment to accountability. These results are robust to an in-time placebo test and numerous alternative specifications. These findings suggest that increased transparency can lead to increased voter participation and democratic accountability within a country that suffers from corruption.
Keywords: Voter Turnout, Political Participation, Corruption, Transparency, Accountability
JEL Classification: D72, D73, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation