Effects Of Transparency On Government Trust

Initially, when we consider an overview of the topic, the relationship between transparency and trust in government, through a literature review by Cucciniello, Porumbescu and Grimmelikhuijsen (2017), for example, found a predominance of the positive effect of transparency.

Could it be that this positive scenario is the predominant one in international literature? However, other studies on this relationship in public administration more generally have also found that transparency can lead to less trust, possibly because it arouses suspicion and concern among citizens (Grimmelikhuijsen et al., 2013; Grimmelikhuijsen, Piotrowski; Van Ryzin, 2020) or even if it is limited, confusing or unrelated (Grimmelikhuijsen, 2012; Grimmelikhuijsen; Meijer, 2012; Mabillard; Pasquie, 2015).
Referring to the context and particularities of each study, a literature review revealed different approaches to dealing with the effects of transparency on trust. When defining transparency, for example, caution is required due to the complexity and multidimensionality of the concepts and knowing that it is not a closed and understood concept (Lopes, 2021). In addition, there is a constant effort to improve the concepts of trust and the dimensions involved, which remains under discussion in the literature (Santos, 2014). As such, guidance on these effects requires caution and a closer approximation to the context that will be addressed in the studies.

At the end of the systematic review that we carried out in 2023 to prepare the thesis project within the ADMETHICS research group and when we specifically described 11 (eleven) studies that adopted the dimensions of reliability as a determinant of trust, we could observe that: the studies present a configuration that is in line with the findings of Cucciniello, Porumbescu and Grimmelikhuijsen (2017). In this case, it was also found that a scenario of positive effects prevails with 04 studies (Auger, 2014; Grimmelikhuijsen et al., 2015; Yan; Wang; Wu, 2020; Rieznik; Lee, 2021), however, the majority (07 studies) take different positions by finding in the research: negative effects (Grimmelikhuijsen, 2010; Grimmelikhuijsen et al., 2013), neutral (Grimmelikhuijsen, 2012; Grimmelikhuijsen; Meijer, 2012; Mabillard; Pasquier, 2015) and mixed effects (Porumbescu, 2015; Alessandro et al., 2021).

In view of this, there is no consensus in the literature on the effects resulting from this relationship. After all, even though there is a pattern in research when using the dimensions of reliability as a determinant of trust, possible limitations must be recognized (Grimmelikhuijsen, 2012) and other factors may influence the results found (Alessandro et al., 2021).

ALESSANDRO, Martin et al. Transparency and trust in government. Evidence from a survey experiment. World Development, v. 138, p. 105223, 2021.

AUGER, Giselle A. Trust me, trust me not: An experimental analysis of the effect of transparency on organizations. Journal of Public Relations Research, v. 26, n. 4, p. 325-343, 2014.

CUCCINIELLO, Maria; PORUMBESCU, Gregory A.; GRIMMELIKHUIJSEN, Stephan. 25 years of transparency research: Evidence and future directions. Public administration review, v. 77, n. 1, p. 32-44, 2017.

GRIMMELIKHUIJSEN, Stephan G. Transparency of public decision‐making: Towards trust in local government?. Policy & Internet, v. 2, n. 1, p. 5-35, 2010.

GRIMMELIKHUIJSEN, Stephan. Linking transparency, knowledge and citizen trust in government: An experiment. International Review of Administrative Sciences, v. 78, n. 1, p. 50-73, 2012.

GRIMMELIKHUIJSEN, Stephan G.; MEIJER, Albert J. Effects of transparency on the perceived trustworthiness of a government organization: Evidence from an online experiment. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, v. 24, n. 1, p. 137-157, 2012.

GRIMMELIKHUIJSEN, Stephan et al. The effect of transparency on trust in government: A cross-national comparative experiment. Public administration review, v. 73, n. 4, p. 575-586, 2013.

GRIMMELIKHUIJSEN, Stephan; KNIES, Eva. Validating a scale for citizen trust in government organizations. International Review of Administrative Sciences, v. 83, n. 3, p. 583-601, 2015.

GRIMMELIKHUIJSEN, Stephan G.; PIOTROWSKI, Suzanne J.; VAN RYZIN, Gregg G. Latent transparency and trust in government: Unexpected findings from two survey experiments. Government Information Quarterly, v. 37, n. 4, p. 101497, 2020.

LOPES, Gabriela Brandão et al. Determinantes da Transparência Municipal em Minas Gerais: Análise com Base na Lei de Acesso à Informação. Pensar Contábil, v. 22, n. 79, 2021.
MABILLARD, Vincent; PASQUIER, Martial. Transparency and trust in government: A two-way relationship. Yearbook of Swiss administrative sciences, p. 23-34, 2015.
PORUMBESCU, Gregory A. Using transparency to enhance responsiveness and trust in local government: can it work?. State and Local Government Review, v. 47, n. 3, p. 205-213, 2015.

RIEZNIK, S.; LEE, H. Citizens’ perception of corruption and transparency as determinants of public trust in local government in Ukraine. Hrvatska i komparativna javna uprava 21 (2): 225–58. 2021.
SANTOS, Julietty Christielle Laurentino dos. Confiança dos cidadãos na gestão pública: análise de antecedentes e proposta de uma escala de mensuração. 142f. 2014. Dissertação de Mestrado (Administração de empresas) – Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB), João Pessoa – PB.

YAN, Bo; WANG, XiaoHu; WU, Jiannan. Fiscal Transparency Online and Public Trust. China Review, v. 20, n. 3, p. 99-126, 2020.

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