Is Transparency To No Avail?
Scandinavian Journal of Economics , Volume 115 - Issue 4 p. 967- 994
Transparent decision-making processes are widely regarded as a prerequisite for the working of a representative democracy. It facilitates accountability, and citizens might suspect that decisions, if taken behind closed doors, do not promote their interests. Why else would there be the secrecy? We provide a model of committee decision-making that explains the public's demand for transparency, and committee members' aversion to it. In line with case study evidence, we show how pressures to become transparent induce committee members to organize pre-meetings away from the public eye. Transparency does not improve accountability, but it might improve the decision.