White paper

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.

The initial British term concerning a type of government-issued document has proliferated, taking a somewhat new meaning in business. In business, a white paper is closer to a form of marketing presentation, a tool meant to persuade customers and partners and promote a product or viewpoint.[1][2][3] White papers may be considered grey literature.

In government

The term white paper originated with the British government, and many points to the Churchill White Paper of 1922 as the earliest well-known example under this name.[4] In British government it is usually the less extensive version of the so-called blue book, both terms being derived from the colour of the document's cover.[2]

White papers are a "... tool of participatory democracy ... not [an] unalterable policy commitment."[5] "White papers have tried to perform the dual role of presenting firm government policies while at the same time inviting opinions upon them."[6]

In Canada, a white paper is "...a policy document, approved by Cabinet, tabled in the House of Commons and made available to the general public."[7] The "provision of policy information through the use of white and green papers can help to create an awareness of policy issues among parliamentarians and the public and to encourage an exchange of information and analysis. They can also serve as educational techniques."[8]

White papers are a way the government can present policy preferences before it introduces legislation. Publishing a white paper tests public opinion on controversial policy issues and helps the government gauge its probable impact.[9]

By contrast, green papers, which are issued much more frequently, are more open-ended. Also known as consultation documents, green papers may merely propose a strategy to implement in the details of other legislation, or they may set out proposals on which the government wishes to obtain public views and opinion.

Examples of governmental white papers include White Paper on Full Employment, White Paper of 1939, and the 1966 Defence White Paper.

Other Languages
العربية: ورقة بيضاء
Bân-lâm-gú: Pe̍h-phôe-su
bosanski: Bijela knjiga
català: Llibre blanc
čeština: Bílá kniha
dansk: Hvidbog
Deutsch: White Paper
Ελληνικά: Λευκή Βίβλος
español: Libro blanco
euskara: Liburu zuri
français: Livre blanc
galego: Libro branco
한국어: 백서
hrvatski: Bijela knjiga
Bahasa Indonesia: Buku putih
íslenska: Hvítbók
italiano: Libro bianco
עברית: ספר לבן
Latina: Liber albus
latviešu: Baltā grāmata
Nederlands: Witboek (document)
日本語: 白書
norsk nynorsk: Melding til Stortinget
português: White paper
русский: Белая книга
संस्कृतम्: श्वेतपत्रम्
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Bijela knjiga
Türkçe: Beyaz kitap
українська: Біла книга
Tiếng Việt: Sách trắng
ייִדיש: ווייסבוך
中文: 白皮书