Accountability and Transparency: Study Questions

 Suggested Study Questions and Activities

Teachers: The following are questions and activities that can be given to your students after they read the materials in each section. The questions are meant to be asked as a review exercise, although some encourage critical thinking as well. The activities can be presented as classroom exercises or as individual homework assignments. Unlike the questions, they tend to require additional research. Some call for students to create mock trials or debates that would engage the entire class. Both the questions and the activities are formatted so that they might be used directly by students, although you may rewrite them as you feel necessary.

Essential Principles


Why are transparency laws and anticorruption laws necessary? Could democracy survive today without anticorruption laws? When were such laws established? Before they were established, what level of corruption existed in democratic countries? Without such laws, what other hindrances existed to limit corruption?


Accountability and transparency involve nearly all aspects of democratic governance. List the characteristics of accountability and transparency mentioned in the essential principles and history sections and in the country studies. Discuss the features that are essential and those that are less important for the well-being of democracy.

Discuss the characteristics of accountability and transparency in light of the 2016 presidential election campaign. What issues have been raised regarding American elections since the Citizens United decision?

Identify instances in the History section where corruption has existed in an electoral democracy. Find other instances using additional sources. What were the consequences of the corruption? What led to the uncovering of the corruption and what happened to end it? What aspects of democracy were necessary to challenge public corruption?



What makes Botswana a democracy? Although only one party has won all elections since independence, what makes it different from dictatorial countries ruled by a single party? Compared to neighboring South Africa, how does Botswana score on the different measures of democratic accountability in Freedom House’s most recent Survey of Freedom Country Report? 


Examine the most recent annual survey by Freedom House and that of Transparency International (TI). Why is Botswana ranked Free by Freedom House and considered the least corrupt country in Africa byTI? Defend your opinion using other resources (see Resources). Are there factors you would consider that are perhaps not included in the Transparency International and Freedom House reports? What are current issues relate to accountability and transparency as described in the Essential Priniciples section? Answer the question: are democratic practices improving or worsening in Botsawana?



What role has corruption played in the Philippines since independence? How did it affect the adoption of dictatorship and democracy at different periods of its post-independence history? What was the most important factor in opposing government corruption?


The Philippines is an electoral democracy that Freedom House downgraded in rank to “partly free” in 2006. Identify the reasons for the different ranking by Freedom House. What role did corruption and lack of accountability and transparency play in the downgrade. Given recent improvements in its score, why does Freedom House still rank the country only “partly free” in its 2015 survey? Discuss the concrete issues that influenced Freedom House's ranking of the Philippines.



For the entire post-Soviet period, Kazakhstan has been dominated by one man, Nursultan Nazarbayev. How has Nazarbayev consolidated his power? What instruments of power has he used?


From the Country Study and other sources (Freedom House, Eurasianet), identify instances in the last decade where civil society has challenged the authoritarian control of President Nazarbayev. Is there opposition to Nazarbayev’s rule? Given the total control over the government, what issues would you use to organize opposition?