Let the Sunshine in: Why Countries Adopt Freedom of Information Acts

23 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2014

See all articles by Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: March 6, 2014

Abstract

Over the last decade, some fifty countries around the world have adopted Freedom of Information Acts (FOIAs), which allow citizens to force the release of information from public offices. Here, we are interested in analyzing the determinants for adopting FOIAs. We apply a set of survival analysis techniques to identify the cultural, political and economic determinants that lead countries to adopt a FOIA. We further distinguish the adoption of constitutionally entrenched information rights from weaker forms of self-commitment to government transparency. We find that there are marked differences in the variables explaining the existence of FOIAs and their inclusion in the constitution.

Keywords: Freedom of Information Acts, FOIA, Endogenous Constitutions, Governance, Transparency, Policy Diffusion

JEL Classification: D72, D73, H11, H83, K39, K42

Suggested Citation

Brown, Patrick and Gutmann, Jerg and Voigt, Stefan, Let the Sunshine in: Why Countries Adopt Freedom of Information Acts (March 6, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2405415 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2405415

Patrick Brown

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Stefan Voigt (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany
+49-40-428385782 (Phone)
+49-40-428386794 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
132
Abstract Views
1,202
rank
279,005
PlumX Metrics