Transparency Policy and Information Laws in a multilevel system of governance (TRANSAUTO)
The goal of this project is to analyze transparency policy and right to information in Spain at national and regional level. Transparency policies have a direct impact in the functioning of advanced societies, and specifically the quality of democracy. They are aimed to respond to the problems of legitimacy of democratic institutions, the problems of corruption and generically to mistrust and social discontent generated after the international financial crisis. Transparency, right to information, and good governance are the pillars of a new way of doing politics that has as its ultimate objective to eliminate the monopoly of information by politicians and officials, ensuring transparency to enforce the principle of accountability, and promote citizen participation in the process of policy-making to make it more inclusive, and reflective. In this study we explain how these issues have been regulated in Spain at national and regional level, and why there are major differences in the scope of the regulation. From this comparison, we hope to contribute to the study of one of the policies that can potentially contribute more to transform advanced societies into more inclusive, innovative and reflective societies. From the theory of diffusion of policies, and principal-agent models we show that the scope of the policy of transparency in the CCAA depends largely on the expected benefits of that decision by regional decision-makers.
In particular we expect that (1) the larger the interparty competition and uncertainty regarding the outcome of the next election, the more likely to adopt transparency policies of high scope. Similarly, (2) the higher the expected potential benefits, the more likely state and regional decision-makers to change their initial position with respect to transparency polices. Finally, we expect that (3) the level of corruption does not explain regional differences in the scope of transparency policy. Additionally, on the theory of punctuated equilibrium we expect that (4) the regulation of transparency follows a process of radical change, and (5) the scope of the transparency policy will be similar in those CCAA in which policy change has been driven by a coalition of actors with similar characteristics in terms of the number and type of actors. To test these hypotheses, we will create an index of regional transparency. For the analysis agenda dynamics we will develop several databases about how these issues have been prioritized in the parliamentarian, governmental and media arenas in the last decade. All data will be freely available as the rest of the data created by the Comparative Analysis Group Policy Agenda (www.ub.edu/spanishpolicyagendas), once we publish the first results. Finally, the development of this project is fundamental for the consolidation and internationalization of the activities of this research group as part of the international research network: Comparative Agendas Project.