Fiscal Transparency Online and Public Trust : An Exploratory Study on Baimiao Township Government

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-126
Journal / PublicationChina Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


It is widely believed that fiscal transparency by means of information and communication technologies (ICTs) will ensure public trust in the digitalization era. However, there is little empirical knowledge about the effects of such online fiscal transparency practices, and why they should occur, in non-Western countries. We investigate the empirical relationship between fiscal transparency online and public trust by undertaking a trace processing case study on the Baimiao township government from Sichuan province in mainland China. The findings reveal that fiscal transparency online may result in better public trust in China. However, improvement in stakeholders’ trust depends on the local development leapfrogging rather than political accountability. Moreover, the use of ICTs plays a vital role in attracting and inspiring multiple stakeholders during this process to mitigate the intense state-society relations. Correspondingly, governmental performance might be improved dramatically if government’s capacity for resource mobilization and people’s sense of gain can be enhanced to make successful use of ICTs and image building online. This paper contributes to the literature through the finding that ICTs can be used to mitigate the state-society relations regarding the impact of fiscal transparency on public trust in China in the digital governance era.

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