Guest co-editors:

Greg Porumbescu (Rutgers University)
Marcia Grimes (University of Gothenburg)
Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen (Utrecht University).



Both transparency and accountability are a hallmark for democratic government. The link between these two concepts seems fairly straightforward and relies on a basic principal-agent relationship: when more information about the principal is available, the agent is enabled to better track its behavior. Increased transparency simply improves accountability.

Indeed, at present, theory and practice tend to rely on an assumption that greater transparency will consistently contribute to greater accountability of the processes that govern the provision of public goods and services. This perspective assumes citizens or other actors to be rational consumers of information, that viable mechanisms for account holding exist, and posits that disruptions to the link between transparency and accountability are attributable to issues with the provision of information.

However, in recent years a growing number of studies have come to challenge conventional wisdom, noting that in many instances individuals do not respond to the disclosure of government information in ways that are (ostensibly) rational. Indeed, various experiments in the behavioral sciences have taught us that information use by either citizens or public officials is biased and only partially rational.

This growing vein of research highlights the importance of complementing the extant institutional focus with a better understanding of the role individual behavior plays in determining the effects of transparency on accountability.

Therefore, this symposium encourages the submission of papers that offer novel insights into the role individuals play (both citizens and public officials) in shaping the relationship between transparency and the accountability of public service provision.

 This call for papers encourages submissions that deal with the following topics:

  • Experimental work into the relation between transparency and accountability
  • Effects of information disclosure on citizen behavior and attitudes
  • Effects of information disclosure on civil servant behavior and attitudes
  • Moderating factors that shape the link between transparency and accountability
  • Psychological theories to better understand the (failing) link between transparency and accountability

Proposals should be no longer than 1200 words (all inclusive) and outline the problem the study intends to address, proposed research design and projected contributions of the study.



1 October 2018 – Send out call for proposals/extended abstracts;
1 November 2018 – Deadline for proposals (please send proposals to the coordinating guest editor at;
1 December 2018 – Acceptance/Rejection notification;
1 July 2019 – Full paper submission deadline.

Authors of accepted manuscripts will be encouraged to join a panel proposal organized by the symposium editors for the 6th Global Conference on Transparency Research in Rio de Janeiro. Participation in the panel is strictly optional.

Please note that final manuscripts will be submitted by the guest co-editors to JBPA for double-blind peer review with final decisions regarding publication being made by JBPA editors. The submitted papers will need to conform to JPBA’s guidelines for paper submissions:

The full CfP can be accessed here.