Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation The Transparency Policy Project

A Government Both More Secretive and More Open

Mary Graham, Transparency Policy Project Co-director, reviews two new books on government secrecy and the public's right-to-know. Read her American Prospect review here

Too Much Information: Making Transparency Good for You

Our Boston Review essay highlights the current debate around transparency and discusses promising design features as well as the political forces aligned against transparency. Read it here.
Photo: the amazing nocò

The Book

Information is power. Sometimes giving people the facts can save lives and improve markets and government. But distorted, out of date, or politically skewed information can do more harm than good. How can we tell the difference and work toward more effective transparency? More. 



Big Data for Early Detection of Risks

While working with the Transparency Policy Project, Dina Kraft researched how data mining and social media can be used as early detection systems for car defects. Her article appeared in the New York Times Sunday Review. Read it here.

The Transparency Policy Project seeks to understand and improve disclosure of factual information that protects the public. Nutritional labels, car safety ratings, toxic chemical reports, and financial accounting standards are among the scores of policies that aim to reduce risks. The Project is affiliated with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard Kennedy School. The Transparency Policy Project houses Transparency for Development, a collaborative initiative to study the impact of transparency on health outcomes.  

We have constructed a framework for assessing the effectiveness of disclosure systems designed to improve public health and safety, reduce risks to investors, minimize corruption, and improve public services. The Project also explores the power and limits of technology to create collective knowledge that serves the public in the United States, Europe and developing countries. 

In Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency and dozens of other publications we explain how information disclosure can go wrong and how new approaches can inform everyday choices, save lives and reduce injuries, improve business products and practices, and lead to more effective government.

READ CHAPTER 4 of Full Disclosure to learn more about the effectiveness of transparency policies.