- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: August 2022
- Print publication year: 2022
- Online ISBN: 9781009219624
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009219624
Does open governance strengthen democracy? The Illusion of Accountability contends that it does not. Leveraging a wealth of data from decades of legislative politics in the American states, the book assesses the causes and consequences of 'open meetings laws,' which require public access to proceedings in state legislatures. The work traces the roots of these laws back to the founding constitutions of some states and analyzes the waves of adoptions and exemptions to open meetings that occurred in the twentieth century. The book then examines the effects of these transparency laws on a host of politically consequential outcomes both inside and outside the legislature. This analysis consistently finds that open meetings do not influence legislators' behavior or citizens' capacity to alter that behavior. Instead, a link between transparent legislatures and an expanded system of organized interests is established. This illuminating work concludes that transparency reform only creates the illusion of accountability in state government.
Sarah A. Binder - Professor of Political Science, George Washington University
Seth E. Masket - Professor of Political Science, University of Denver
Alan E. Wiseman - Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Political Economy, Vanderbilt University
E. V. Schneier Source: Choice
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