Priceless? A new framework for estimating the cost of open government reforms

New paper by Praneetha Vissapragada and Naomi Joswiak: “The Open Government Costing initiative, seeded with funding from the World Bank, was undertaken to develop a practical and actionable approach to pinpointing the full economic costs of various open government programs. The methodology developed through this initiative represents an important step towards conducting more sophisticated cost-benefit analyses – and ultimately understanding the true value – of open government reforms intended to increase citizen engagement, promote transparency and accountability, and combat corruption, insights that have been sorely lacking in the open government community to date. The Open Government Costing Framework and Methods section (Section 2 of this report) outlines the critical components needed to conduct cost analysis of open government programs, with the ultimate objective of putting a price tag on key open government reform programs in various countries at a particular point in time. This framework introduces a costing process that employs six essential steps for conducting a cost study, including (1) defining the scope of the program, (2) identifying types of costs to assess, (3) developing a framework for costing, (4) identifying key components, (5) conducting data collection and (6) conducting data analysis. While the costing methods are built on related approaches used for analysis in other sectors such as health and nutrition, this framework and methodology was specifically adapted for open government programs and thus addresses the unique challenges associated with these types of initiatives. Using the methods outlined in this document, we conducted a cost analysis of two case studies: (1) ProZorro, an e-procurement program in Ukraine; and (2) Sierra Leone’s Open Data Program….(More)”