Brunnschweiler, C., Ishmael Edjekumhene and Päivi Lujala (2021)
Transparency in resource revenue management is seen as an important strategy to avoid misuse and misappropriation. Theory predicts that transparency will allow citizens to gain information on revenue management; better informed citizens in turn will enter the debate on resource governance issues, voice concerns, and demand improved accountability if necessary. However, there is little micro-level evidence on how transparency policies relate to better citizen knowledge, or to differences in attitudes towards revenue management and in demand for accountability. We analyze data from a unique survey of over 3500 Ghanaian citizens to understand how Ghana’s extractive sector transparency measures are linked to citizens’ knowledge, rights perception, satisfaction levels, and behavior regarding resource revenue management. Our results suggest that information levels among citizens are quite poor; however, there is a strong sense of citizens’ right to benefit from resource revenues. Satisfaction with the status quo is very low; yet, few respondents have sought more information, or even discussed resource revenue management with friends or family. The results also hold for elected representatives, who should be best placed to influence resource governance. The findings imply that the transparency discourse hinges on false assumptions of the effects of information in resource revenue management.