Research

Within the last year, the PTP-FGV has recently produced three articles and working papers, pictured below. In addition, we are currently working on an analysis of government efforts to publicize information surrounding Covid-19.

PTP-FGV researchers Gregory Michener and Jonas Coelho recently published an article comparing governmental compliance rates with active and passive transparency across Latin America, from 2002-17. Published in Government Information Quarterly in March 2021, the article analyzes patterns of evaluation and compliance across the region.

Submitted to the Office of the Comptroller General for Brazil’s commitment 11 on subnational transparency, the report ‘Indicadores de implementação e cumprimento ao acesso à informação pública em nível subnacional no Brasil’ [Indicators of access to information implementation and compliance at the subnational level in Brazil], provides compiled indicators and compliance statistics on the state of transparency in Brazil’s states and cities. The prognosis is not encouraging. Implementation and compliance with ATI are significantly deficient. The clearest general problems are the fragile commitments to transparency and poor supervision. However, three more problems stand out in terms of implementation: first, there is a lack of standardization in ATI reports (e.g. number of requests, breakdown per year, etc.). Secondly, there are serious gaps in the provision of data (some years are not reported, for example). Third, the validity and reliability of the government's report on LAI is questionable. Still, there is low compliance in general, especially public policies, such as those in the area of public security, and with transparency obligations, especially of the passive type (responses to citizens' requests).

A working paper by Simeon Nichter (UCSD) and Gregory Michener (FGV-EBAPE) on the determinants of transparency in Brazil: Lack of government compliance jeopardizes performance and prospects for recent information access schemes, especially at the local level. Encouragingly, academics and multilateral initiatives are beginning to examine the determinants of local transparency compliance, although they have focused predominantly on active forms of transparency (such as dissemination of information on the web), especially in higher-income democracies, and with the use of aggregate measures in accordance with transparency compliance. We contribute to this literature by shifting the focus to passive transparency (responsiveness to citizens' requests) - where compliance gaps in the latest access to information schemes tend to be more acute - and we draw critical distinctions between the determinants of compliance in the law (de jure compliance) versus in practice (de facto compliance). By using a new set of data on municipal transparency compliance in Brazil, we identified substantial differences in factors related to de jure and de facto compliance. These distinctions offer lessons for policy-based efforts that can help take root in new transparency measures.