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International development experts share their ideas on how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries. Follow at

Sep 10, 2012

Your tax dollars bought that bridge, that road, that school. But unless you live in Colombia or the UK, you probably can’t look at the contracts for these things bought on your behalf. My guest on this week’s Wonkcast is Charles Kenny, senior fellow here at CGD and we are discussing his latest work: “Publish What You Buy: The Case for Routine Publication of Government Contracts.”

Charles estimates that government contracts with private firms account for about 15% of the global economy or some $9 trillion a year. He argues that routinely publishing these contracts online is a no-brainer, good for citizens, governments, and the private sector. He also reviews (and easily dispatches) two arguments against such disclosure. We close by discussing some simple mechanisms for rapidly expanding disclosure efforts already underway in a handful of jurisdictions, including Miami-Dade County, Florida, in the United States.

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