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Assessing Freedom of Information in Latin America a Decade Later: Illuminating a Transparency Causal Mechanism

  • Gregory Michener (a1)

Abstract

More than 100 freedom of information (FOI) laws have been enacted worldwide, nearly half within the last 10 years. Yet these cross-domain, lynchpin transparency measures have received little scholarly attention. This article assesses the 16 FOI measures adopted across Latin America. Is secrecy being surrendered in a region marked by legacies of opacity? Why are some laws fulfilling their de jure potential in practice while others are not? This article aims to achieve 3 general objectives. It analyzes the de jure and de facto strength of Latin American FOI regimes; it exposes critical data-based and methodological challenges in evaluating and comparing transparency laws; and it illustrates how a causal mechanism, driven by the interactive dynamics of legislative balances of power and cabinet compositions, has had a determinate influence in shaping the strength of FOI regimes from adoption to implementation and reform.

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