The relationship between transparent and participative government: A study of local governments in the United States

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The relationship between transparency and participation of government is not well articulated in the literature. Transparency provides stakeholders with knowledge about the processes, structures and products of government. Participation refers to the quantity, quality and diversity of input of stakeholders into government decision-making. Greater transparency and participation are often considered to operate side by side. However, in the Internet age the change in the magnitude of information disclosure may outweigh the change in the level of participative government. This article uses data from a 2010 national survey of five US local government agencies to test hypotheses about the relationship between transparency and participation and the factors that affect them. Findings show that participation is positively associated with transparency, but transparency does not lead to participation. In addition, organizations that are under stronger influence from external stakeholders report higher levels of participation but in some cases higher levels of external influence dampen transparency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-115
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012



  • local government
  • openness
  • participation
  • transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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