We have compiled the following list of resources as part of our aim to support knowledge building in the field of transparency policy. Some of these resources explore digital transparency, where new technologies enable and amplify disclosure. Others examine transparency as a social policy tool. They are grouped by interest area. Links will direct you to publications and external websites.
Mobilizing ethical consumption
GoodGuide co-founder Dara O'Rourke talks with Archon Fung about how new technologies and expert ratings help to deliver greater transparency about the social, environmental and health impacts of commercial products. Below they discuss how GoodGuide aims to enable more ethical decision-making by consumers as a way of improving the labor and environmental practices of corporations. O'Rourke also anchors a rich debate with Juliet Schor, Richard Locke, and others about the promise of the Citizen Consumer at the Boston Review.
Michael Luca, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, presented his paper “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com” at a Transparency Policy Project event in November 2011. He investigates how consumer reviews influence restaurant demand, finding, among other effects, that consumers respond more strongly when ratings contain more information and come from ‘elite’ reviewers. See David Weil’s interview with Michael below.
Transparency and Governance
The Labor Department is a leader in responding to President Obama’s open government directive through efforts like its searchable enforcement databases, which contain data from MSHA, OSHA, WHD and other enforcement agencies. This is one of the best examples of government enforcement data transparency in a federal agency. Of particular note is DOL’s “Data Lab”, which allows users to analyze and examine enforcement information from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the agency the regulates worker health and safety in the nation's underground and surface mines.
In the course of its regulatory activities, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) collects large volumes of food safety data from firms that process meat, poultry, and egg products, some of which FSIS aggregates and publishes on its website. The National Research Council has released a report that responds to an FSIS request to study the implications of publishing disaggregated establishment-specific data, titled "The Potential Consequences of Public Release of Food Safety and Inspection Service Establishment-Specific Data." The Transparency Policy Project's David Weil served on the study committee.