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.