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Open government – Open for business?

by Dieter Zinnbauer

Many activities related to opening government have a demonstrated, empirical potential to
create business value, foster broader economic opportunities, and promote a business
climate for growth and dynamism. What’s more, opening government plays a highly relevant,
if not essential, role for economic stewardship and for putting economies on sustainable,
inclusive trajectories of good growth. These are the central insights from this scan of the
empirical literature on the economic and business dimension of open government. More
specifically, opening government is found to have created sizeable business opportunities,
innovation impetus, and to a somewhat lesser extent, new jobs—particularly in the area of
open data. A growing body of empirical evidence also suggests that opening government
has helped countries attract investments and capital, boost trade, reduce red tape, and
remove barriers to market entry, all pointing towards an enhanced business and investment
climate. At least equally important, there is compelling evidence that opening government
supports good growth by enabling the containment of some of the major negative side
effects of economic growth, by improving the targeting and efficacy of inclusive economic
policies and benefits schemes, and by making it easier for businesses to live up to some of
their fundamental societal responsibilities. Overall, the research landscape on opening
government and business and economy nexus is still rather fragmented, and there are many
promising, feasible, and much-needed avenues for future investigations in this fast-moving


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