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Matt, very interesting posts! It's great to see people using OBI data in new and interesting ways. I think you are pointing to very important issues, but having taken a look at the numbers, I'm not sure things are as straightforward as they seem. We tried to replicate your calculations of 'transparency gaps', but came up with different results. And there are other ways of looking at the data that might be more useful, like looking at how individual countries' openness across the different stages of the budget cycle changes over time. On a more general level, I agree with you that it is important to use international indicators like the OBI so that they promote change that is relevant and important to citizens’ lives and government performance in each country context, rather than promote cosmetic improvements to a government’s international image. I also think that there’s a need to recognize that the struggle for transparency needs to be put in a much broader context where a variety of domestic factors and dynamics shape governments’ willingness to open up their books, and the degree to which transparency can in turn contribute to positive development outcomes. We've posted a more comprehensive response here: Let us know what you think!
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Sep 18, 2013