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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Government transparency is increasing worldwide and political rhetoric assumes a strong positive relation between transparency and accountability. This chapter opens up the “black box” of the relation between transparency and accountability by examining the expanding body of literature on government transparency. Three theoretical relations between transparency and accountability are identified: transparency facilitates horizontal accountability; transparency strengthens vertical accountability; and transparency reduces the need for accountability. The review of studies into the relation between transparency and accountability show that, under certain conditions and in certain situations, transparency may contribute to accountability: transparency facilitates accountability when it actually presents a significant increase in the available information, when there are actors capable of processing the information, and when exposure has a direct or indirect impact on the government or public agency.

Keywords: Transparency, accountability, open government, access to information

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