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Module Code: POU44101

Module Name: Topics: Transparency Policies in Modern Democracies 2024-25

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 1
  • Contact Hours: One 90-minute seminar
  • per week
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Prof. Raj Chari
  • Office hours: TBC

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Analyze, specify and appraise different transparency policies found in modern democracies worldwide, with a particular focus on the 35 countries of the OECD
  • Evaluate the importance of different theoretical concepts of how one can conceptualize transparency policy and how this is different to other forms of policy (such as economic, competition, and social policy)
  • Discriminate between which type of actor – that is, public or private - is regulated by the different types of transparency initiatives.
  • Analyze, specify and appraise the role of the domestic and supranational levels when transparency policy is formulated and implemented.
  • Summarize the range of research tools that one would use if one were to engage in further with the topic as a civil servant, lobbyist, or researcher on transparency in the future.

Module Learning Aims

The main aim of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding and comprehensive knowledge of the different transparency policies that political systems today have developed to increase accountability and open government. Emphasis will be paid on seven key policy areas: Freedom of Information, Open Data, Ethics Reform (Conflict of Interest), Whistleblowing, Campaign Finance, Lobbying Regulation, and aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility. At the end of this course it is expected that students will have learned a detailed understanding of what are the main goals of each of the policies, which (public or private) actors are regulated with them, which states have pursued such regulations, and how can one theoretically attempt to characterize different types of regulatory environments.

Module Content

In the wake of the recent financial and economic crisis, citizens worldwide have been demanding for accountability in politics and a key means to achieve this is the through the establishment of regulations fostering transparency, shedding light on how decisions are made in public institutions. This course thus has its main content the examination of key ‘sunshine’ policies. This ranges from those policies where the key object of regulation are public actors, such as Freedom of Information laws, to those regulating private actors seeking to influence public bodies, such as lobbying laws.  

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Recommended Reading List

TBC: Readings from mostly journals as well as key chapters in books will be assigned for each week. Examples of significant books in this regard are C. Hood, & D. Heald, 2006, Transparency: The key to better governance? Oxford University Press as well as R. Chari et al. 2019, Regulating Lobbying: A Global Comparison 2nd edition, Manchester University Press.

Assessment Details

Mid-term essay (30%) 
90 minute in-person end-of-semester examination (70%)

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