The Form and the Essence: Effects of Transparency and Citizen Participation Laws on Democratic Local Governance in Chile

Dr. José Hernández-Bonivento

Have the transparency and access to information law (20.285) and the citizen participation law (20.500) improved the democratic local governance in Chile? Trying to resolve this question, we have develop a double methodology: first, based on quantitative data, we have measure the compliance of this laws on all municipalities of Chile (N=345), and then, we made a comparative qualitative research on four chilean cities with different levels of compliance. The results shows that, even with great institutional changes, the complex dynamics of interaction between municipalities, civil society organizations and local citizens presents situations that can promote, block or even diminish open government at the local level, showing the need of a better set of formal and informal incentives, beyond the formalities of law, to insure positive effects of these laws on democratic governance and effectiveness of local governments.