Transparency, Protest and Democratic Stability

James R. Hollyer, B. Peter Rosendorff, James Raymond Vreeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Democratic rule is maintained so long as all relevant actors in the political system comply with the institutional rules of the game-democratic institutions must be self-enforcing. We examine the role of transparency in supporting a democratic equilibrium. Transparency improves the functioning of elections: In transparent polities, elections more effectively resolve adverse selection problems between the public and their rulers. Transparency increases popular satisfaction with democracy and inhibits challenges to the democratic order. We provide a game-theoretic model, test these claims, and find they enjoy empirical support. Transparency is associated with a reduction in both the probability of democratic collapse and of the irregular removal of democratic leaders. Transparency stabilizes democratic rule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1277
Number of pages27
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • democratic consolidation
  • leader removal
  • transparency


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