A street-level perspective on government transparency and regulatory performance: Does relational distance matter?
Public Administration , Volume 96 - Issue 3 p. 452- 467
This study investigates the extent to which inspectors perceive government transparency as impacting regulatory performance. It theorizes that when inspectors perceive an increase in transparency, they find that the perceived relational distance between themselves and their inspectees rises and this, subsequently, increases regulatory performance. The findings from a survey among Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority inspectors (n = 466) confirm that inspectors view an increase in transparency as enhancing regulatory performance. This study further investigates this mechanism by comparing two divisions with different levels of factual relational distance (i.e., frequency of inspector–inspectee interactions). The findings reveal that only in the division with small factual relational distance does perceived relational distance mediate the effect of transparency on regulatory performance. More specifically, in divisions with small factual relational distance, more perceived transparency increases perceived relational distance; this in turn, increases perceived regulatory performance.