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6 - Public Demand

from Part II - Transparency and The Mass Public

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 August 2022

Justin H. Kirkland
Affiliation:
University of Virginia
Jeffrey J. Harden
Affiliation:
University of Notre Dame, Indiana
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Summary

Given the contrast between political elites’ resistance to transparency and reformers’ demand for it, the results in Chapters 4 and 5 present an unusual puzzle. Both sides believe transparency should have an effect, and yet we find that it does not. We begin to address that puzzle in Chapter 6 with an assessment of citizens’ reactions to open governance. Our data sources for this analysis are the 2018 and 2020 CES, which asked survey questions of a representative sample of about 60,000 American adults in each year. We administered three experiments and two standard survey questions to subsets of 1,000 respondents each in these surveys. We find that Americans do, in fact, favor a transparent legislature to a closed one, although the actual policies the legislature implements can strengthen or weaken that preference. Additionally, this pattern is fairly widespread across the population rather than concentrated only in a specific group of citizens with certain political or demographic traits. In short, there is support for the idea that, when it is presented to them, the public responds positively to the opportunity to serve as the principal in our theoretical framework.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Illusion of Accountability
Transparency and Representation in American Legislatures
, pp. 165 - 195
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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