National transparency: Global trends and national variations

Yong Suk Jang, Munseok Cho, Gili S. Drori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nation-states worldwide are institutionalizing a culture of transparency and accountability. In our analyses of data reported in the United Nations (UN) Statistical Yearbooks since 1970, we identify two main trends: (1) national governments are providing a greater amount of data on a larger set of social, political, and economic domains, and (2) national governments increasingly offer such data in accordance with international standards introduced by the UN. In addition, we find that the overall cross-national trend toward transparency and accountability, as measured by the standard reporting of national accounts to the UN from 1970 to 2000, is driven by a unique set of factors in each time period. Specifically, domestic and economic conditions drove the trend toward transparency before 1990, whereas political factors have driven transparency since then. Throughout the period studied, the presence of links between a given country and world society has increased the likelihood that it will engage in transparent reporting. We conclude that active networking with international governmental organizations, such as the UN, teaches governments the norm of transparency, inculcating them with the rationales of public accountability and proper governance.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)95-118
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Sociology
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2011-330-B00194).

Keywords

  • Data reporting
  • United Nations
  • governance
  • transparency
  • world society

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