Publication details

Does the freedom of information law increase transparency at the local level? Evidence from a field experiment

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Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Government Information Quarterly
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web text v databázi elsevier
Keywords transparency; freedom of information; field experiment; local government; Slovakia
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Description The paper studies how Freedom of Information (FOI) laws work and assist citizens in their demand for information at the local level. To examine this, we ran a field experiment and sent emails to all 2,928 municipalities in Slovakia and asked them to provide us data from local election, inaccessible in any other way. Results show that mentioning FOI law in the request increased the response rate, while a moral appeal had no effect at all. The found effect is, however, moderated by population size. While in less populated municipalities the FOI requests led to substantially higher responsiveness of public bodies, the form of the request becomes less relevant with increasing population. Higher compliance was also found for municipalities led by independents. On the other hand, areas with a predominance of an ethnic minority had lesser responsiveness, possibly due to a language barrier.
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