Are more Transparent Countries also more Democratic?

Rodrigo Silva Diniz Leroy, Antônio Carlos Brunozi Júnior, Lucimar Antônio Cabral de Ávila


Objective: to evaluate the relationship between fiscal transparency and the degree of democracy of countries.

Method: to measure the proxies, the Open Budget Index and Democracy Index indicators were used, with data from 2006 to 2019, which were evaluated through Exploratory Data Analysis, Correlation test and Chi-square test of independence.

Results: in general, there is a significant, positive and strong relationship between fiscal transparency and the degree of democracy of countries, especially when countries with distinct performances are grouped together. However, this relationship can exhibit very distinct behavior, depending on the region in which the country is located.

Originality/Relevance: there is a higher incidence of transparency studies at regional and local levels, to the detriment of transnational investigations. In addition, understanding transparency as a fundamental principle for the consolidation of a Democratic State, it is expected that there will be a direct relationship between the measured variables. However, we highlight the recent contradictory findings of Arapis and Reitano (2018), who found a negative relationship between these two indicators, contrary to the theory and previous literature on the subject.

Theoretical/methodological contributions: as established by the literature, the findings shown here are sufficient to disagree with the conclusions of Arapis and Reitano (2018), and confirm that more democratic countries tend to have greater transparency regarding their budget information.

Social contributions/for management: tax transparency is an important instrument of social control in a democratic society, however, from a certain degree of democracy, there are no significant differences in tax transparency rates between countries.


Fiscal Transparency; Open Budget Index; Degree of Democracy; Democracy Index; National Governments.

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