Open government in authoritarian regimes

Karl O'Connor, Colin Knox, Saltanat Janenova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
316 Downloads (Pure)


Open government has long been regarded as a pareto-efficient policy – after all, who could be against such compelling policy objectives as transparency, accountability, citizen engagement and integrity. This paper addresses why an authoritarian state would adopt a policy of open government, which seems counter-intuitive, and tracks its outworking by examining several facets of the policy in practice. The research uncovers evidence of insidious bureaucratic obstruction and an implementation deficit counter-posed with an outward-facing political agenda to gain international respectability. The result is ‘half-open’ government in which the more benign elements have been adopted but the vested interests of government and business elites remain largely unaffected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-82
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Review of Public Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 17 Jun 2019


  • Open Government
  • Central Asia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Matland
  • implementation
  • authoritarian
  • public administration
  • bureaucracy


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