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Freedom of information acts and public sector corruption


Various countries have recently implemented Freedom of Information acts believing that greater transparency can reduce public sector corruption. To test this, we analyze annual data on 128 countries between 1984 and 2003 using a variety of propensity score matching techniques and overall find no significant relationship with one exception: In the developing world, FOI acts are significantly associated with rising levels of corruption. Further investigation suggests this may be due to the fact that the effectiveness of FOI acts appears to be conditioned by a country’s institutional arrangements.

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Correspondence to Monica Escaleras.

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Escaleras, M., Lin, S. & Register, C. Freedom of information acts and public sector corruption. Public Choice 145, 435–460 (2010).

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  • Freedom of information
  • Governmental transparency
  • Institutions
  • Public sector corruption

JEL Classification

  • D73
  • D78
  • H11
  • O10