Papers Probe Drivers of Transparency in China

24 May 2011

Emerging transparency in China and what explains it was the topic of two papers presented at The First Global Conference on Transparency Research held May 19-20 at Rutgers University-Newark, N.J. (See overall report in FreedomInfo.org.)

In “the first empirical study uncovering the drivers of fiscal transparency in China,” Liang Ma and Jiannan Wu of Xi’an Jiaotong University, ended with several practical observations. “Specifically, governments need to arrange essential organizational, personnel, and records management resources for the open government information policies.” they wrote.

In addition:

Endorsement and support from top leaders are very important for fiscal transparency, and the central government could advance government transparency through more effective controls and incentives on local officials.

Finally, our findings demonstrate that economic openness and market-oriented reform contribute strongly to fiscal transparency, and deepening the institutional reforms and encouraging economic openness may benefit government transparency in long run.

Another paper on China stated that “reform is not a result of economic development and a fight against corruption, but an outcome of improved information flow resulting from social, political, legal and economic factors.”

This explains why China “has adopted a push model of FOI legislation stressing proactive disclosure,” according to Weibing Xiao, a lecturer at the School of Economic Law at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

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