How Does Democracy Lead to Transparency?: Enacting Freedom of Information Laws around the World



Yuko Kasuya, CDDRL

Date and Time

November 17, 2011 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to Stanford faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars.

RSVP required by 5PM November 16.


Encina Ground Floor Conference Room


That democratic governments tend to be more transparent than autocracies is a relatively well-established fact. Yet, we know relatively little about how they become so. Yuko Kasuya will explore this mechanism by focusing on the policy-making processes of the freedom of information acts (FOIAs) around the world. The current majority view holds that under democracies, self-interested politicians embark on transparency reforms because doing so brings them political benefits, especially in terms of winning elections. In contrast, Kasuya will argue that while electoral competition may influence the timing of transparency reform, the degree of reform (FOIA strength) depends on the extent to which the civil society advocacy groups are active in the legislative process. Kasuya will examine this claim through the cross-national statistical analyses (as of 2011, about 75 democracies have enacted a FOIA) as well as the comparative case study of India, Spain, and the United Kingdom. 

Yuko Kasuya is a visiting scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University and an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan (on leave). Her current research explores conditions for transparency reform, with the focus on the recent global spread of Freedom of Information Acts (FOIAs). She examines how partisan politics influence the policy-making processes as well as the robustness of FOIAs using both quantitative and qualitative analyses.

She is the author of Presidential Bandwagon: Parties and Party Systems in the Philippines (Keio University Press, 2008), co-editor and contributor of Comparative Politics of Civil Society (Keio University Press, 2007, in Japanese), Politics of Change in the Philippines (Anvil, 2010), Comparative Politics of Asian Presidentialism (Minerva, 2010, in Japanese). She has also published articles in Electoral Studies, The Pacific Affairs, and Party Politics.

Kasuya holds a PhD in International Affairs from UC San Diego, an MA in Development Studies from Institute of Social Studies (Netherlands), and a BA in Political Science from Keio University (Japan). Her research has been funded by the Abe fellowship, Fullbright scholarship, Rotary scholarship, and other sources.