T16P20 - The Use of ICTs to Improve Governance and Accountability Outcomes

Topic : Sustainable Development and Policy

Panel Chair : Juan D. Gutierrez-Rodriguez - juan.gutierrezrodriguez@bsg.ox.ac.uk

Panel Second Chair : Natalia Garbiras-Diaz - nataliagarbirasdiaz@berkeley.edu

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Note: This Panel is eligible for the GCPSE (UNDP) Grant.

 

 

Enhancing the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs), citizen participation, transparency and accountability explicitly appear as key components of seven goals (4, 5, 6, 10, 13, 15 and 16) of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, promoting ICTs that empower citizens and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are treated simultaneously as ends and means to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This panel will address the question on whether the promotion and use of ICTs may improve governmental outcomes (particularly, regarding the delivery of the SDGs). Moreover, the panel will explore both bottom-up and top-down initiatives in different regions of the world.

In recent years, we have witnessed a global trend towards the promotion of citizen participation, transparency and accountability. A significant number of these initiatives promote the use of ICTs to reach their goals (Callen, Gibson, Jung, Long, 2016). For instance, some initiatives from civil society seek to foster citizens’ accountability efforts by reducing some of the obstacles related to participating in policy-making processes[1] and reporting[2] and monitoring[3] corruption and fraud. Likewise, governments have also used ICTs to improve development outcomes. In many developing countries, e-governance promises to broaden access and enhance delivery of public goods and services, making it less contingent to citizen-bureaucrat relationships.  

Additionally, these initiatives have been led by a diverse array of supranational organizations, national and subnational governments, NGOs, academic institutions and social organizations. The basic assumption behind these endeavors is that citizen participation and transparency of information may have a positive impact in governance and, ultimately, in the improved capacity to deliver developmental goals. However, the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these initiatives over the conduct and incentives of incumbent governments, politicians and civil servants is still inconclusive (Khagram, S., de Renzio, P., & Fung, A., 2013; Mejia 2013; Molina, 2014; Paler, 2013). Up to date, most of the literature has focused on evaluating the intermediate outcomes of these initiatives (e.g. whether citizen participation o transparency increased), while the academic efforts to collect and process evidence on whether governance or delivery of outcomes is improved is an emerging strand of the literature (Mejia 2013).

The main objective of this panel is to contribute to fill this gap in the literature by exploring qualitative and/or quantitative evidence on the effects of the use of ICTs to foster citizen participation, transparency and accountability in the delivery of public goods and, ultimately, in the governments’ capacity to achieve developmental goals.

[1] See for instance, “Intelligent Vote” an online political petition’s platform created by a civil society organization in Chile.
[2] See for instance “I paid a Bribe”, an online platform created by a civil society organization that allows citizens to report bribery.
[3] See for instance experimental evidence of the application of ICTs to monitoring elections in Uganda and Afghanistan.

Call for papers

Enhancing the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs), citizen participation, transparency and accountability explicitly appear as key components of seven goals (4, 5, 6, 10, 13, 15 and 16) of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, promoting ICTs that empower citizens and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are treated simultaneously as ends and means to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This panel will address the question on whether the promotion and use of ICTs may improve governmental outcomes (particularly, regarding the delivery of the SDGs). Moreover, the panel will explore both bottom-up and top-down initiatives in different regions of the world.

In recent years, we have witnessed a global trend towards the promotion of citizen participation, transparency and accountability. A significant number of these initiatives promote the use of ICTs to reach their goals (Callen, Gibson, Jung, Long, 2016). However, the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these initiatives over the conduct and incentives of incumbent governments, politicians and civil servants is still inconclusive (Khagram, S., de Renzio, P., & Fung, A., 2013; Mejia 2013; Molina, 2014; Paler, 2013). Up to date, most of the literature has focused on evaluating the intermediate outcomes of these initiatives (e.g. whether citizen participation o transparency increased), while the academic efforts to collect and process evidence on whether governance or delivery of outcomes is improved is an emerging strand of the literature (Mejia 2013).

The main objective of this panel is to contribute to fill this gap in the literature by exploring qualitative and/or quantitative evidence on the effects of the use of ICTs to foster citizen participation, transparency and accountability in the delivery of public goods and, ultimately, in the governments’ capacity to achieve developmental goals.

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