Transparency in Three Dimensions
Frederick Schauer | 2011 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1339
On November 11, 2010, at the University of Illinois College of Law, Professor Frederick Schauer of the University of Virginia delivered this lecture as part of the 2010 Baum Lecture Series. Professor Schauer discussed the challenges associated with the often-touted virtues of transparency in public decision making, offering a proposed framework for assessing the goals and principles associated with transparency, transparency’s costs and benefits, and how transparency is related to other principles, including those of the First Amendment.
Professor Schauer begins by discussing the definition of trans-parency and how the degree of transparency is ultimately a function of three variables: the possessor of information, the information that is to be made transparent, and to whom access to information will be given. He then addresses the aims of transparency, in particular its regulatory, democracy enhancing, efficiency promoting, and epistemological goals. Professor Schauer notes how transparency is conservative, seeking to prevent the worst outcomes even at the occasional cost of foreclosing the best ones.