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State Processes, Ideas, and Institutional Change: The Case of the Right to Information Act in India1

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Abstract

Historically, the Indian state has embraced the norm of secrecy. Yet despite this legacy, in 2005 India passed the Right to Information Act (RTIA). What explains this institutional change in India’s information regime? The mainstream literature overlooks significant historical evidence, which I deploy to demonstrate that ideas on openness emerged as part of the opposition politics within the state after independence in 1947, gradually and incrementally became part of mainstream politics, and eventually led to the RTIA. I propose a largely endogenous model of institutional change that builds on gradual changes to finally reach a threshold—or tipping point.
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Keywords: India; ideas; institutional change; right to information; state

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2018

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