Transparency Policy Project

The Transparency Policy Project seeks to understand and improve disclosure of factual information that protects the public. The Project has constructed a framework for assessing the effectiveness of disclosure systems designed to improve public health and safety, reduce risks to investors, minimize corruption, and improve public services. The Transparency Policy Project team also explores the power and limits of technology to create collective knowledge that serves the public in the United States, Europe and developing countries. 


Which hospitals are safest? What cereals are most nutritious? Which SUVs are most likely to roll over? What public schools offer the best education? How to compare mortgage options? How to evaluate special interest influence on members of Congress?

We offer new insights into the power of transparency. 

Carefully constructed transparency systems can reduce health and safety risks, create more effective and more participatory governance and discourage corruption.

Our research and the research of many scholars now shows that disclosing information can encourage banks, hospitals, food companies, restaurants, auto manufacturers and governments to perform better.

However transparency often fails.  

Information about drinking water safety is confusing and out of date. Companies’ financial disclosures do not reveal all risks. Nutritional labels are hard for most people to understand. Transparency fails when disclosure is poorly designed or badly executed. Such failures are wasteful and can increase risks. Most could be avoided.

What next? 

On the horizon is a new generation of transparency. The Web makes it possible for ordinary citizens to share their own experiences with car defects, hospital mistakes, unsafe workplaces, food poisoning and government services that don’t work. That collective knowledge is potentially powerful. It can reduce risks and improve services for everyone. The Transparency Policy Project explores how such participatory transparency works

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