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Is Transparency the Best Disinfectant?

A Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Transparency on Government Corruption
by Can Chen, Ph.D. and Sukumar Ganapati, Ph.D.

Transparency is widely recognized as an anti-corruption strategy. Research on the link between transparency and corruption has burgeoned since the 1990s. We conducted a meta-analysis of 56 empirical studies to estimate the overall effect size of transparency on corruption. The analysis shows that that transparency has a significant, though small, overall effect size in reducing government corruption. While legal transparency with freedom of information laws are important, the effect size is substantially larger with fiscal transparency and e-transparency. 


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