Can You Find It on the Web? An Assessment of Municipal E-Government Transparency

Domonic A. Bearfield, Ann O.M. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Despite the potential of open government, earlier research has found that local governments vary significantly in their embrace of transparency. In this article, we explore the variability question through the innovative application of an alternative set of transparency indicators. We find that cities are more likely to make information about finance and budgeting and general administration accessible to the public, less likely to place information related to human resources online. We use the literature to derive a model to test five types of promising explanations for a city’s propensity for transparency. Our analysis suggests that community demand and a city’s organizational networks play an important role in fostering transparency, regardless of city size. Important differences do exist between large and small cities: Transparency in larger cities is spurred by political competition; in smaller cities, governmental resources and administrative professionalism influence transparency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-188
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


  • e-governance
  • governance
  • local government
  • open government
  • transparency


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