Is Transparency to No Avail?

28 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2013

See all articles by Otto H. Swank

Otto H. Swank

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics; Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

Bauke Visser

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics; Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

Transparent decision‐making processes are widely regarded as a prerequisite for the working of a representative democracy. It facilitates accountability, and citizens might suspect that decisions, if taken behind closed doors, do not promote their interests. Why else would there be the secrecy? We provide a model of committee decision‐making that explains the public's demand for transparency, and committee members' aversion to it. In line with case study evidence, we show how pressures to become transparent induce committee members to organize pre‐meetings away from the public eye. Transparency does not improve accountability, but it might improve the decision.

Keywords: Committee decision‐making, pre‐meetings, reputation

JEL Classification: D71, D72, D82

Suggested Citation

Swank, Otto H. and Visser, Bauke, Is Transparency to No Avail? (October 2013). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 115, Issue 4, pp. 967-994, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2332959 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12029

Otto H. Swank (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 4081448 (Phone)
+31 10 2120551 (Fax)

Bauke Visser

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+ 31 (0)10 40 81449 (81441) (Phone)
+ 31 (0)10 40 89149 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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