Which Countries Have More Open Governments? Assessing Structural Determinants of Openness

Sabina Schnell, Suyeon Jo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


An increasing number of countries are adopting open government reforms, driven, in part, by the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global effort dedicated to advancing such initiatives. Yet, there is still wide variation in openness across countries. We investigate the political, administrative, and civic factors that explain this variation, using countries’ fulfillment of OGP eligibility criteria as a proxy for minimum standards of openness. We find that countries with strong constraints on the executive and high levels of citizen education have governments that are more open. A dense network of civil society organizations is associated with more budget transparency and higher civil liberties, but not with access to information or asset disclosure laws. The results suggest that if the value of openness is to be translated in practice, it is not enough to have capable bureaucracies—countries also need informed citizens and strong oversight of executive agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-956
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • access to information
  • global initiatives
  • open government
  • transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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