Advocates for economic development often call for greater transparency. But what does transparency really mean? What are its consequences? This breakthrough book demonstrates how information impacts major political phenomena, including mass protest, the survival of dictatorships, democratic stability, as well as economic performance. The book introduces a new measure of a specific facet of transparency: the dissemination of economic data. Analysis shows that democracies make economic data more available than do similarly developed autocracies. Transparency attracts investment and makes democracies more resilient to breakdown. But transparency has a dubious consequence under autocracy: political instability. Mass-unrest becomes more likely, and transparency can facilitate democratic transition - but most often a new despotic regime displaces the old. Autocratic leaders may also turn these threats to their advantage, using the risk of mass-unrest that transparency portends to unify the ruling elite. Policy-makers must recognize the trade-offs transparency entails.
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James R. Hollyer is a Benjamin Evans Lippincott Associate Professor in Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. Professor Hollyer obtained his Ph.D. in political science from New York University in 2012, his M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago in 2006, and his B.A. in political economy from Williams College in 2003. His research focuses on comparative and international political economy, particularly on transparency, corruption, political accountability, and the effects of international policy on domestic politics. B. Peter Rosendorff is Professor of Politics at New York University and is editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Economics and Politics, and serves on the editorial board of International Organization. Professor Rosendorff holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Economics, a B.A.(Hons) and B.Sc. from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa in Mathematics and Economics. He is the author of many journal articles, some of which have appeared in American Political Science Review, American Economics Review, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics, among others. James Raymond Vreeland is Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Government. He received his Ph.D. in political science from New York University in 1999. He currently serves on the editorial board of International Organization. He is the author of The IMF and Economic Development (Cambridge, 2003) and The Political Economy of the United Nations Security Council: Money and Influence (Cambridge, 2014).
1. A new approach to the study of transparency; 2. The content of information; 3. The HRV index of transparency; 4. Comparing measures of transparency; 5. Transparency and (in)stability - the theory; 6. The evidence - examples and descriptive data; 7. The evidence - regression analyses; 8. Transparency and investment; 9. Why democracies disseminate more data than autocracies; 10. Why autocrats disclose; 11. Consequences of transparency; References; Index.
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