What information do citizens want? Evidence from one million information requests in Mexico

Daniel Berliner, Benjamin E. Bagozzi, Brian Palmer-Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


While scholars have emphasized the importance of information for accountability, little research has addressed the demand for government information by real citizens. We study the totality of information requests filed with Mexican federal government agencies from 2003 to 2015, over 1 million requests in all. We use unsupervised methods to categorize requests, revealing the diversity of topics including environment, security, budgets, and government procurement and employees. While many topics have clear public accountability-seeking purposes, others are focused on more private, micro-political goals. Analysis over time and across states reveals linkage between information demand and issues of public interest such as environmental impacts and criminal violence. Our results demonstrate that, given functioning access-to-information institutions, citizens in a transitional democracy really do demand information relevant to public accountability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-235
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Development
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Accountability
  • Information
  • Mexico
  • Text analysis
  • Transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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