Elgar original reference
Edited by Padideh Ala’i and Robert G. Vaughn
This Research Handbook on Transparency explores the many faces of the concept of transparency in order to understand the contexts in which it is applied and to evaluate its various applications. As with other terms – such as freedom, democracy, corruption, governance, and the market – transparency has many meanings. As the editors of this Handbook, we began with a sense that the term transparency, despite its popularity, concealed rather than exposed the debates and values involved in its invocation. In the last two decades, transparency has become a ubiquitous, but stubbornly ambiguous, term. We wanted to produce a volume that would uncover the many faces of transparency and provide readers with a view of the uncertainties, inconsistencies, and surprises contained within current conceptions and applications of the term. Transparency is usually seen to promote a number of values, including the rule of law, democratic participation, anti-corruption initiatives, human rights, economic efficiency, environmental protection, and the promotion and growth of trade and investment. By the same token, however, transparency can legitimize bureaucratic power, advance undemocratic forms of governance, aid in the global centralization of power and enable large economic entities, such as multi-national corporations, to consolidate power through rules of trade and investment.