Why are transparency regimes so rare? Even if one side might have something to hide, why would their opponents not push for transparency? To analyze transitional justice, we build a simple model where both the incumbent (who decides whether to implement a transparency regime) and voters know that the opposition politician may be compromised and that a strategic blackmailer may release the kompromat. In equilibrium, the incumbent strategically opts for a non-transparency regime that would keep skeletons in the closet: it is easier to run against a maybe-tainted opponent. We corroborate our results with data from the Global Transitional Justice Dataset.

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