Countries with more established FOI laws have better human development, still perceived as corrupt

Submitted by LDieringer on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 9:39am

From Investigative Reporters and Editors:  Freedom of Information Act advocates have consistently claimed that institutionalizing the right to information will benefit countries, particularly in addressing corruption.

They are not lying.

By comparing indices on corruption, human development, and years of having an FOI law across 168 countries, I found support to the assumption that having an FOI law leads to lower levels of perceived corruption.

Also, countries with older FOI laws tend to have higher levels of human development than countries with younger FOI laws or countries without them.

An intriguing link, however, is between ratings of FOI law effectiveness and the perceived level of corruption in a country.

This article is based on a longer study conducted under the supervision of Dr. Charles Davis, now the dean of University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

A version of the study will be presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Conference in Washington DC on August 10. The study also won first place in the Moeller Student Paper Competition of the association’s Mass Communication and Society Division.

Visit IRE for the rest of the post and read the longer study here (PDF).

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