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Monitoring as a Democratic Imperative: A Study on Corruption and Accountability in Mexico.

Democratic transition has failed to make local urban governments in Mexico more responsive to the public interest. This critical problem is made evident by the persistence of corruption in the form of bribery, shirking, influence, cronyism and nepotism. In examining why the problem of corruption remains entrenched, the central thesis of Lagunes is that free and fair elections have failed to make local governments in Mexico more responsive to the public interest because of institutional factors that are beyond the voters' immediate realm of influence. These factors are special interest groups that rely on corruption to achieve dishonest ends; a vitiated bureaucracy; a flawed legal framework; an ineffective judicial system; and impunity. In order to disrupt the corrupt status quo and deliver on the democratic promise of heightened accountability, this dissertation puts forth an empirically tested policy recommendation: external audits. The author concludes that newly democratized regimes that face entrenched corruption should depend on scrupulous and targeted external audits in order to heighten government responsiveness to the public interest.​

Auditing for accountability? Political Economy of Government Auditing and Budget Oversight in Emerging Economies.

External audit agencies are an integral part of the system of checks and balances. However, little is known about what explains their effectiveness and what determines their performance. Combining quantitative and qualitative research techniques, the dissertation investigates the political economy of government auditing and budget oversight in emerging economies. Building on earlier findings on the role of political institutions in economic performance, it develops a conceptual framework to assess the effectiveness of external audit agencies. Gathering quantitative data for ten Latin American countries, it develops a performance indicator to assess the links between external auditing and fiscal governance. It then investigates three case studies, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, illustrating the three main models of external auditing. Interestingly, the research reveals a paradox of independence: while external audit agencies must be sufficiently autonomous to be effective and credible, they need to develop efficacious relations with the other components of the system of fiscal control with the necessary powers to enforce accountability on government, in particular parliaments. This research expands knowledge on oversight agencies and opens avenues for further research on the role of parliaments in public budgeting.​

Characterizing, Classifying, and Understanding Information Security Laws and Regulations: Considerations for Policymakers and Organizations Protecting Sensitive Information Assets.

Current scholarly understanding of information security regulation is limited. Several competing mechanisms exist, many of which are untested in the courts and before state regulators, and new mechanisms are being proposed on a regular basis. Perhaps of even greater concern, the pace at which technology and threats change far outpaces the abilities of even the most sophisticated regulators. Based on the American case, Thaw´s dissertation focuses on understanding how these laws are classified, what effects they have, and what are the implications of these effects for organizations and professionals. The author draws two conclusions. First, the combination of laws and management-based "regulatory delegation" models together is better at preventing breaches of personal information by organizations than is either model alone. Second, compliance-oriented prescriptive legislation weakens the role of security professionals within organizations, while management-based regulatory delegation models strengthen the role of professionals within organizations.​

Creating Useful Integrated Data Sets to Inform Public Policy.

The costs of traditional primary data collection have risen dramatically over the past decade. Sharing of administrative record data between federal agencies has the potential to increase the information that is available for policy makers while saving money. Significant policy issues related to safeguarding privacy and confidentiality, as well as questions about data quality have resulted in barriers that slow down or stop record sharing. This dissertation employs two exploratory case studies to examine the creation of integrated data sets among three American government agencies, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The study found that each agency involved in sharing administrative records is governed by a different set of statutes and regulations that only partially overlap. This patchwork of laws and regulations greatly slows down the initiation of record sharing projects. There are no mature government-wide shared processes or criteria for reviewing or approving projects involving multiple agencies. The current processes are slow and burdensome and discourage initiation of new projects.​

Knowledge Management Practices in U.S. Federal Agencies: The Catalyst for E-Government Transformation

The purpose of this research is to determine to what extent an agency's Knowledge Management Practices influence the successful transformation of the agency to a citizen-centered, results-oriented and market-driven e-government. A survey was conducted with Knowledge Management (KM) practitioners in federal agencies to find out which KM Practices were implemented by the agencies, and assess their perception of the successful results realized in their agencies from the implementation of KM Practices. One of the central findings of this study was that in order to implement e-government practices it is necessary to move away from agency cultures of bureaucracy to organizations that are flexible, adaptable and open, which better fit the needs of the twenty-first century.​

The Use of Information: How New Technology is Changing Discussions of Privacy.

Advances in technology are shifting the focus of privacy concerns; for example, common transactions can generate information that is collected imperceptibly, and easily manipulated by ever improving automatic processes. It has become impractical and often undesirable, to prevent personal information collection, processing and use, but these are just the actions that policies have targeted to prevent privacy harms. Approaches to policy will need to adapt to secure privacy in an increasingly connected world. To determine how, Corliss reviews the history of privacy theory, beginning with its roots in the idea of a public-private divide and tracing its development to identify useful conceptions of privacy with which to evaluate policy. This discussion frames a look at recent and contemporary laws that protect privacy, and establishes the conceptual underpinnings of the prominent approaches to privacy. Based in this foundation, the author presents policy recommendations that realistically address privacy concerns.​

Does Openness Enhance Public Trust? A Cross-Country Assessment of the Relationship between Openness of Budgeting Processes and Perceptions of Government Corruption.

In the last two decades, openness of public budgeting processes garnered the attention of governments, non-governmental organizations and donors, evidenced by a proliferation of budget transparency and accountability initiatives worldwide. Designed to facilitate productive citizen-government interactions around resource allocation, open budgeting initiatives should contribute to strengthening public trust in political institutions. Using corruption perceptions as a measure of public trust, this study analyzes the relationship between the openness evident in the budgeting processes of 70 countries and corruption perceptions over a five-year period (2006-2010). This study shows that the cumulative effect of the components of transparency, consultation and monitoring may have a stronger impact on perceptions of anti-corruption effectiveness and government corruption than they do as stand-alone activities.​

Transparency in the Government Communication Process: The Perspective of Government Communicators.

This dissertation presents an understanding of the role of transparency in the communication processes of agencies of the United States Federal Government, as guided by principles of stakeholder management, models of public relations, and a model for government agency communication. These theories and models all suggest that increased openness in organizations will result in improved organizational functioning and in some instances, increases in organizational trust. The perspectives presented in this paper were collected through eighteen semi-structured in-depth interviews of professional communicators for various agencies in the United States Federal Government. The data shows that government communicators recognize the need for transparency in a democratic government, and also illustrates factors that both enhance and constrain transparency. This study illustrates government communicators understand the value of transparency in communication practices and provides a model for transparency in government agency communication. The research also shows a need for future research to strengthen theory, expand models, and provide examples of how to effectively implement transparency enhancing practices in government communication.​