Haldor Byrkeflot and Karsten Vrangbaek
The debate on accountability within the public sector has been lively in the past decade. Significant progress has been made in developing conceptual frameworks and typologies for characterizing different features and functions of accountability. However, there is a lack of sector specific adjustment of such frameworks. In this chapter we present a framework for analyzing accountability within health care. The chapter makes use of the concept of “accountability regime” to signify the combination of different accountability forms, directions and functions at any given point in time. We show that reforms can introduce new forms of accountability, change existing accountability relations or change the relative importance of different accountability forms. They may also change the dominant direction and shift the balance between different functions of accountability. The chapter further suggests that developments in accountability regimes are best analyzed with a combination of top-down and bottom up perspectives and that there is a need to develop research strategies to support this aim.
Martin Lodge and Lindsay Stirton
Accountability in regulation will never reach a state of ‘perfection’ and stability, but will remain, given competing values and shifting priorities, in a state of continued tension and fluidity. In other words, debates require transparency regarding the very different ideas concerning the appropriate means and ends of accountability. This article develops this argument in three steps. First, it considers the background to contemporary debates surrounding accountability, pointing to traditional concerns as well as to a change in context captured by discussions about ‘polycentric’ or ‘decentred’ regulation. Second, this article points to key components of any regulatory regime over which demands of accountability are commonly asserted, and to four ways of considering institutional design and accountability. Third, and finally, this article suggests that debates on whether the rise of the regulatory state has led to a decline or rise of accountability and transparency are misplaced.
In employer-provided pension plans and individual retirement saving accounts, contributions over the working lifetime are used to purchase assets that are drawn down after retirement. In contrast, public pension systems typically use pay-as-you-go (PAYG) finance. With PAYG finance, current revenue to the program – which may be derived from a tax on payroll or from general taxation, – is used to finance current pension expenditure. Such a pension program is therefore a form of tax-and-transfer system, akin to other elements of the public welfare program. Given these general issues, this article describes an actuarial-based system and contrasts it with an explicitly redistributive program. It then delineates four dimensions in which public pension systems diverge from this actuarial benchmark, providing actual illustrations for OECD countries. The next section considers the limited empirical evidence on whether, in practice, deviations from an actuarial basis to the public pension system actually affect household behaviour.
Irene S. Rubin and Joanne Kelly
This article examines what reforms have been proposed, what they are intended to accomplish, and how they are working out. The result of the survey and analysis conducted is somewhat messy if informative. The amount and quality of information available in different countries varies enormously. Failed reforms have often been ignored by researchers, biasing the existing reports in a positive direction. Reforms have been in place for different amounts of time in different countries, and some have been only partly implemented, adding to the difficulty of comparing them. Finally, the large number of countries engaged in such reforms has led to some selectivity in the presentation, making the results less than neat. This article then illustrates an interim report on an ongoing set of processes in a limited number of countries, based on the literature and on first-hand observations offered by scholars and practitioners in a number of countries.
Kenneth J. Meier and Gregory C. Hill
Although numerous scholars claim the eminent demise of bureaucracy, this article argues that bureaucracy will not only survive in the twenty-first century but will flourish. The core of the argument is that the large-scale tasks that government must perform—national defense, a social welfare system, political monitoring of the economy, etc.—will remain key functions of governments in the twenty-first century and that bureaucracies, likely public but possibly private, will continue to be the most effective way to do these tasks. Bureaucracy has weathered other calls for its demise before; current efforts are likely to meet similar fates. After a brief discussion of definitions and the meaning of bureaucracy, the major sections of this article deal with six challenges to bureaucracy. Some of these challenges are intellectual; others are part of real-world ongoing reform efforts in a variety of countries.
Philippe C. Schmitter
The advent of neo-corporatism has been a rare occurrence among advanced capitalist liberal democracies—and virtually unheard of elsewhere. Of the twenty or so original members of that club of rich countries, the OECD, only about one-third have managed to practice it for any length of time, despite the demonstrable benefits that this mode of interest intermediation has had for many aspects of macroeconomic performance from the end of the Second World War until the end of the 1970s. The most pervasive reason for this has been the opposition of organized business interests. Only under exceptional conditions of a “balance of class forces” between capital and labor has it emerged and persisted at the national level.
Graham Wilson and Wyn Grant
Although it is conventional in political science to distinguish between political parties and interest groups, in practice the distinction is less clear. The conventional definitions suggest that political parties seek to capture power; interest groups aspire to influence public policy. Even the names of political parties make it obvious, however, that in practice this distinction is not absolute. The linkage in the UK between Labour parties and unions is usually clear. In the United States, the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party is still called the Democratic Farm Labor Party. Farmers' parties used to be fairly common although as in the Swedish case they have generally adopted labels that are more encompassing such as, to continue the Swedish example, the Center Party. Parties do not call themselves “The Business Party” but are often described as such. What does this mean? On what basis is it reasonable to identify a party as the business party? There are a number of different indicators that can be used.
Ben Ross Schneider
Business groups combine empirically a variety of features that have fascinated researchers from a range of disciplines. However, debate and theorizing, both generally and in relation to politics, are unlikely to progress unless the features of interest are organized in different disciplines which are clearly distinguished from each other. At a minimum, distinctions are necessary among three types of business groups—informal, pyramidal, and diversified—and the theoretical approaches associated with each. Much of this article, especially the analysis of business groups as objects of policy, focuses on the diversification dimension. Yet, not all groups pursue equally politicized strategies. Business groups vary over time, across countries, and within countries in terms of what could be called degrees of political intimacy.
Ben Ross Schneider
This article proceeds in several steps to analyze business politics in Latin America. The second section briefly reviews a general conceptual framework that distinguishes the sources of business preferences as well as a range of ways that business influences policy-makers. The third section takes these analytic building blocks and incorporates them into an examination of the dynamic, strategic interaction between business and government. This section develops the portfolio analysis of the range of political investments that business in Latin America typically employs, including lobbying, campaign finance, business associations, personal networks, and corruption.
Timothy Werner and Graham Wilson
Several broad generalizations about the nature of business representation in Washington would command general agreement. First, business representation is organizationally fragmented and competitive. Second, there is no hierarchical relationship between business organizations. Third, peak and trade organizations are not the only source of business representation in Washington. Large corporations increasingly have their own “in-house” lobbyists in a governmental affairs unit; although, this trend varies by industry and firm size, there was a marked increase between 1991 and 2001 across industries in the emphasis firms placed upon hiring in-house lobbyists. Fourth, business groups are often part of short-lived coalitions that can link businesses with other types of organizations or pit one group of businesses against another.
Mitchel Y. Abolafia
Isabella Proeller and Kuno Schedler
This article aims to characterize French and German public administration and management, outline their specific reform trajectories, and indicate the influence both systems have had abroad. It begins by highlighting some characteristic traditions of the German and French systems. This is followed by an overview of important reform trajectories in each country, which highlights factors that have shaped the national administrative systems. The final section focuses on the influence of Germany and France on foreign public administrations.
Robert Hebdon and Ian Kirkpatrick
Few observers would dispute the fact that radical changes have been attempted in the funding and organization of public services in most developed countries. Increasingly the trend is said to be away from ‘outmoded traditional ways of organizing and conducting public business towards up-to-date, state-of-the-art methods and styles’. Such change is thought to have had implications for employment relations. The aim of this article is to present a critical overview of recent debates about the nature and consequences of public sector restructuring. It first describes some of the main characteristics of public service organizations and how these have been largely embedded in national-level institutions and policy traditions. Furthermore, this article analyses the forces that have driven restructuring and looks at how change has been associated with attempts to reshape public services through privatization and management reform.
Jodi Sandfort and H. Brinton Milward
The topic of public service partnerships has clear substantive importance. Governments all over the world are increasing their dependence upon collaborative partnerships to delivery public services. This article reviews literature written in the crevice between the espoused benefits of collaborative service partnerships and the reality that they are difficult to create, sustain, and use to mobilize resources in ways that create positive results. According to this article, the literature exploring the collaborative public service delivery is diverse. This reflects the variation found in the field, as practitioners use an increasingly wide array of tools to work on complex, public problems. What has resulted is a disparate literature with two distinct streams of inquiry — one focusing on collaboration itself, the other on the consequences these new service arrangements have on organizations and citizens. This article reveals some fundamental issues unresolved in the ongoing scholarly inquiry.
Jenny Harrow and Susan D. Phillips
This chapter discusses the context of nonprofit organizations, which are under pressure to demonstrate how they act for the benefit of the public in transparent ways with obvious impact. It notes that questions of ownership and accountability have combined in nonprofit corporate governance, and that the effect aims to address stakeholder relationships and corporate governance systems more effectively. It argues that nonprofit governance theories represent a wide range of lenses that can support environmental contingencies and the increased hybridization of corporate forms and business models within the nonprofit sector, as well as promoting accountability. The chapter also determines whether increased state and societal regulation will tend to improve corporate governance practices or create a mess that allows governance mediocrity.
Jeremy Moon, Nahee Kang, and Jean‐Pascal Gond
This article is about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and aims to distinguish different types of CSR–government relationship and to understand these in the context of broader state roles and government–business relations. It investigates these relationships comparatively, historically, and in terms of new institutionalism. It does so comparatively by investigating CSR and government in four types of political system on the assumption that CSR reflects features of respective national business systems, or varieties of capitalism, in which government roles are critical. Thus it considers CSR in the USA, in Europe, in the transitional economies of East Asia, Eastern Europe, and South Africa, and globally. The article's special focus on the USA is justified because, although business responsibilities have long existed throughout the world, in America the concept of CSR emerged as a basis for reflection on its relation to the wider purpose of the firm in the context of institutions of governance.
For the last quarter century or so, decentralization has been virtually unassailable. Almost everyone has been in favor of it, from the centralized French to the already decentralized Germans; from the majoritarian British to the consensual Danes and Dutch, and so on. The aim of this article is to probe and problematize the concept of “decentralization.” More specifically, it takes note of the long history of decentralization; explores the concept, and identify its various meanings; considers the (often unspoken) alternative—”centralization”; and reviews (necessarily superficially) some of the evidence concerning the practice of decentralization.
Skill is a ubiquitous term but it is not always commonly understood. This chapter demonstrates that our understanding of skill varies, often as a reflection of our disciplinary interests. Three cross disciplinary lenses are used to examine varying views of skill: its meaning, acquisition, utilisation, recognition, and impact. These lenses: political economy of skill; skill as an organisational resource; and learning theory, enable an exploration of economic, political science, sociology, industrial relations, human resource management, organisation studies, education and psychology perspectives. It is argued that rather than a single or even cross-disciplinary view, multiple perspectives on skill are essential to effective policy development and positive influence on individual and social wellbeing.
Every activity of a public administration has an informational and a communicative aspect. Therefore, it may be expected that the institutionalization of electronic information and communication technologies (ICTs) in public administration would have a fundamental impact on the way in which public administration functions. Although this basic assumption is generally adhered to, it is not uncontested. This article first presents the shifts in management attention during the early phases of ICT use within public administration. Second, some theoretical approaches to informatization are discussed. Third, the dominant focus of public managers on effectiveness, efficiency, and economy as the main purpose of the use of ICTs in the implementation of policies are highlighted. Fourth, the growing emphasis on service delivery with ICTs are commented upon. Fifth, the democratic possibilities of ICT applications are discussed. Finally, the main strategic challenges of e-Government for public management, in terms of the technical, organizational and institutional barriers that will have to be surmounted, are demonstrated.
Economic Interests and Political Representation: Coordination and Distributive Conflict in Historical Perspective
Torben Iversen and David Soskice
This article begins by explaining the positive relationship between distributional equality and redistribution. It proposes in the second section that the correlation is indirect: two factors, the electoral system and the degree of economic coordination, each impact on both distribution and redistribution. Proportional representation (PR) promotes both distributive equality and especially redistribution; so does coordinated capitalism with an even greater impact on distribution. PR promotes center-left coalitions; and coordinated capitalism, by encouraging investment in co-specific skills, reinforces both median voter and business support for wage compression and strong welfare state insurance. The positive correlation between distributional equality and redistribution is in turn explained by a positive correlation between PR and coordinated capitalism.