The connection between democracy and transparency would appear to be strong. Democratic countries have been among the earliest adopters of new legislation in transparency reforms such as access to information (ATI) laws. However, research has not yet tested the connection in the context of democratic reform where transitioning countries have the option to adopt ATI laws, and yet may, nevertheless, neglect or delay passage of such laws. To address this question, this paper uses Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) with 23 countries that are in democratic transition in the fourth wave of democratic transition in the 21st century. The results show that low political competition in conjunction with strong civil society, regional pressure and recognition of international norms is favourable to ATI adoption. In contrast, the non-ATI adopters have encountered high political competition coupled with low regional pressure, weak international norms, and weak press freedoms.
- Democratic transition
- Access to information
- Political competition
- Qualitative comparative analysis