Information Transparency in Nonprofit Settings

dc.creatorCheryl Litman
dc.description.abstractIn 1913, Justice Louis Brandeis writes in Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It: “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” At that time the word "publicity" referred both to something like what we think of as "public relations" as well as to the practice of making information widely available to the public, what we call transparency. This dissertation investigates transparency as a method of regulation and sheds light on the effectiveness of such transparency on behavior. This dissertation examines the behavior of figure skating judges. Figure skating marks are transparent to the public with marks identified by judge. We provide evidence from natural data to examine variations in affiliation bias. Using data from figure skating, we test whether judges are biased by affiliating with the same club as skaters, and under which conditions this bias may increase or decrease. We find that belonging to the same skating club correlates with higher marks. This finding is robust to a number of alternative specifications. Further, judges assign both positive and negative strategic markings in program segments with more than one favored skater. We find that under higher visibility of skating performance and judging marks, the bias goes to zero. In addition, we find more bias when marking guidelines are flexible. Finally, we find that judges show greater favoritism when judging teams, which is consistent with the salience associated with a team sport.
dc.titleInformation Transparency in Nonprofit Settings Mason University


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