Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Comparing transparency

The idea of transparency is being tossed around in the American presidential campaign, but the concept is important in comparative politics, too. Transparency contributes to legitimacy, honesty, and rule of law.

The Economist's reporting on the resignation of Mexico's finance minister, Luis Videgaray, mentioned the well-respected NGO Transparency International. That makes this a good time to review the concept and the organization.

Political transparency measures the degree to which the discussions and actions of governments and actors in governments are open to public scrutiny. Most often the assumption is that more transparency makes for more honest and responsible government and politics.

The cost of an unwanted guest
TO SAY things have been going badly for Enrique Peña Nieto… would be an understatement. Recent embarrassments include… an ill-judged rendezvous with Donald Trump. On September 7th Mr Peña tried to put the unpleasantness behind him by accepting the resignation of the finance minister, Luis Videgaray, his most important deputy, who had hopes of becoming president in 2018.

Most observers assume Mr Videgaray took the fall for suggesting Mr Trump’s visit in the first place…

Mr Peña’s use of a scapegoat does not answer the most pressing questions he faces: how to avoid irrelevance in the final two years of his term and prepare his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for the next election…. The country’s corruption rating, as measured by the researchers of Transparency International, is stubbornly and embarrassingly poor for a democracy whose economy is the 15th largest in the world…


Corruption PerceptionsIndex 2015
  • Country   raw score   (international rank)
  • Denmark 91 (most transparent)
  • United Kingdom 81 (10th most transparent)
  • United States 76 (16th most transparent)
  • China 37 (83rd most transparent)
  • Mexico 35 (95th most transparent)
  • Russia 29 (119th most transparent)
  • Iran 27 (130th most transparent)
  • Nigeria 26 (136th most transparent)
  • Somalia 8 (167th most transparent or, in other words, least transparent)

Teaching Comparative blog entries are indexed. Use the search box to look for country names or concept labels attached to each entry.

What You Need to Know 7th edition is ready to help.


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Just The Facts! 2nd edition is a concise guide to concepts, terminology, and examples that will appear on May's exam.


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The Comparative Government and Politics Review Checklist.



Two pages summarizing the course requirements to help you review and study for the final and for the big exam in May. . It contains a description of comparative methods, a list of commonly used theories, a list of vital concepts, thumbnail descriptions of the AP6, and a description of the AP exam format. $2.00. Order HERE.

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