Transparency and trust in government: evidence from a survey experiment

Jorge M. Streb

Por Jorge M. Streb, en conjunto con Martin Alessandro, Bruno Cardinale Lagomarsino, Carlos Scartascini, y Jerónimo Torrealday

World Development Volume 138. February 2021.

Does providing information improve citizens’ perception of government transparency? Does all information matter the same for shaping perceptions about the government? This article addresses these questions in the context of an online randomized survey experiment conducted in Argentina. Results show that providing information to citizens matters for shaping perceptions about transparency, and the content of that information matters for affecting the evaluation people make about the government. Those who received a treatment showing that the government was over-performing on its promises had higher trust in the government than those who received a treatment showing that the government was under-performing. The evidence highlights that the relationship between transparency and trust may be mediated by the performance of the government. Our complementary analytical discussion shows that the rules for disclosing information may be important for transparency to matter.

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