GV4K1 Half Unit
Transparency and Accountability in Government
This information is for the 2018/19 session.
Dr Daniel Berliner CON 6.10
This course is available on the MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Political Science and Political Economy and MSc in Public Policy and Administration. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
Is “sunlight the best disinfectant”? Can information empower citizens to hold their government accountable? How have information technologies been used to enable civic engagement and participation? What are the relationships between transparency, secrecy, corruption, and accountability?
This course will familiarise students with the theory and practice of transparency and accountability in government, enabling them to critically address these questions and engage meaningfully in fast-moving contemporary policy debates.
The course will offer a grounding in theories of democracy, representation, and accountability, as well as debates over the merits of different transparency policies in light of competing values like secrecy and privacy. The course will also enable students to evaluate the role played by different forms of information in political systems, as well as to critically assess the theories of change and assumptions behind information-based policy initiatives, and to evaluate the evidence base supporting such initiatives.
The course has a global scope, focusing on applications in both developed and developing countries, and on policy types including freedom of information, information-based regulation, participatory budgeting, crowdsourced policymaking, “civic tech,” open data, campaign finance and asset disclosures, and applications of transparency to sectors like extractive industries, the environment, and public health.
15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.
There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of LT.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay of 1,500 words in the LT, and to meet with the instructor regarding the plan for their summative research essay.
Fung, Archon. 2013. "Infotopia: Unleashing the democratic power of transparency." Politics & Society 41(2): 183-212.
Schedler, Andreas. 1999. “Conceptualizing accountability.” In The self-restraining state: Power and accountability in new democracies, Schedler, Andreas, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner, eds. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Noveck, Beth Simone. 2015. Smart Citizens, Smarter State. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Roberts, Alasdair, 2006. Blacked out: Government secrecy in the information age. Cambridge University Press.
Berliner, Daniel, 2014. “The political origins of transparency.” The Journal of Politics, 76(2), 479-491.
Pande, Rohini. 2011. “Can Informed Voters Enforce Better Governance? Experiments in Low-Income Democracies.” Annual Review of Economics. 3(1): 215–37.
Prpić , John, Araz Taeihagh, and James Melton. 2015. "The fundamentals of policy crowdsourcing." Policy & Internet. 7(3): 340-361.
Worthy, Ben. 2015. “The impact of open data in the UK: Complex, unpredictable, and political.” Public Administration, 93(3), 788-805.
Tan, Yeling. 2014. "Transparency without democracy: The unexpected effects of China's environmental disclosure policy." Governance 27(1): 37-62.
Roberts, Alasdair. 2012. "WikiLeaks: the illusion of transparency." International Review of Administrative Sciences 78(1): 116-133.
Essay (90%, 3000 words) in the ST.
Presentation (10%) in the LT.
Total students 2017/18: Unavailable
Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable
Controlled access 2017/18: No
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills
- Specialist skills