Transparency Occasional Paper 3: Transparency and policy implementation

  • Authors: Nicholas Gruen
  • Format: Occasional Paper
  • Published Date: 13 July 2012


This series of papers is designed to show how transparency can be used as a means to the end: effective policy implementation while minimising costs to the taxpayer. In the series there are papers that show the impact of transparency in improving public sector performance, productivity, implementation, integrity, and innovation. 

This paper evaluates the evidence about the use of targeted transparency to achieve key policy and regulatory goals. It reviews the contribution of economic thinkers to our understanding of the significance of information in influencing market responses. The paper uses examples to illustrate the value of making public sector data available both in raw and value‐added formats. It also extends beyond a focus on information held by government to the ability of government to influence the transparency of information more widely, including that held by industry and professions. Used wisely, there are many ways in which targeted transparency can deliver wider economic and behavioural outcomes. For example, the paper highlights the Queensland Water Commission’s 'target 140' campaign, which included publication of water consumption data. The campaign resulted in a saving of approximately 20,680 million litres of water (worth $19.2 million at market rates) over an eight‐month period and lasting behavioural change.

These Occasional Papers are jointly published by ANZSOG and the Office of the Information Commissioner Queensland.