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How institutional culture trumps tier effects: evidence from government responsiveness to FOI requests

Poole, Ed Gareth ORCID: 2019. How institutional culture trumps tier effects: evidence from government responsiveness to FOI requests. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 29 (2) , pp. 210-226. 10.1093/jopart/muy039

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Claims that decentralization could improve government accountability and responsiveness led to its adoption as a policy objective across the globe. But recent empirical work finds little evidence of ‘tier effects’ in practice; instead, significant variation exists even between most-similar bodies. Recognizing the value of FOI in facilitating large-scale data collection, and that the UK’s institutional diversity offers an important source of between- and within-tier variation, I compile a large new dataset by emailing two separate FOI requests to 812 UK public bodies with an executive function. Identifying significant variation in timeliness and quality between UK territories, I argue that differing foundational motives can help explain patterns of responsiveness between institutions established by transparency-facing reforms and those designed to resolve conflict. A lack of evidence that by lower-tier governments are generally more responsive reaffirms the recent challenges to the more fundamental claims about decentralization that informed academic debate and real-world practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1053-1858
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 July 2018
Date of Acceptance: 17 July 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 05:16

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