Transparency is a central value in contemporary society and politics, expressing the ideal that organizations, especially governments, are accessible, clear, and understandable to interested observers such as citizens or other stakeholders. Transparency remains very difficult to define with precision or to implement in practice. Sometimes synonymous with openness, transparency is commonly presented as the opposite of secrecy in modern political usage. By making information accessible to the public, advocates believe, transparency serves as a tool for increasing the responsiveness, accountability, and legitimacy of government. Though transparency is one of the most frequently invoked values of the past 40 years, many claims about its effectiveness are disputed. This entry reviews the rise of transparency in governments, its meaning and the approaches to it, and the ...

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