Open government has in recent years emerged as an area of intense activity and fervent hope for some of our largest societal aspirations. This paper asks the question, does open government work? That is to say, do open government interventions expand public knowledge of governmental processes, encourage participation and inclusion, improve public services, save public money, or help achieve other widely accepted goals of government?
Chile is a successful open government reformer. The implementing agencies have achieved the targets set in the national action plans for transparency and access to information commitments. These reforms are changing administrative practices and attitudes about transparency and access to information management, but still fall short of reaching the citizens. Chile’s success responds to the institutional capacity of public agencies and to the adoption of commitments that are part of their strategic work plans. However, challenges related to contingent political factors, inter-agency coordination, and monitoring affect the action plans’ potential for transforming how the state relates to its citizens. These factors also influence the limited priority that stakeholders attribute to open government processes.