This chapter focuses on the absence of certain marginal groups from the United Nations’ Women, Peace, and Security Agenda and suggests correctives to those exclusions. The chapter discusses how men and boys as victims of sexual and gender-based violence have been erased in this agenda, and the consequences of this erasure. It challenges the assumptions of militarized masculinity as a uniformly shared identity among conflict-engaged men. It also looks at the outcome of pregnancies resulting from wartime rape and shows how children born of rape are presented and treated in their communities. The chapter draws on research conducted in Peru and Colombia and shows the necessity of understanding both the perpetration and experience of violence in nuanced ways.
Lisbeth Aggestam and Adrian Hyde-Price
This chapter examines the politics of Swedish military activism and the paradoxes they involve. Since the end of the Cold War, Sweden has been involved a range of international military operations—from Bosnia and Congo to Afghanistan and Libya—that are very different from traditional peacekeeping. We argue that this military activism is driven both by the Swedish internationalist tradition of “doing good” in the world, but also for instrumental purposes. These include a desire for political influence in international institutions, an interest in collective milieu shaping, and a concern to improve the interoperability and effectiveness of the Swedish military.
This chapter comments on Aaron Wildavsky’s seminal work, The Politics of the Budgetary Process, an in-depth look at the norms and rules of budgeting in the United States and the stable patterns of interaction between the various actors involved. Considered a classic of public administration scholarship, the book uses a simple yet fundamental theoretical framework for analyzing budgetary decisions. After summarizing the basic elements of Wildavsky’s theory of budgetary incrementalism, the chapter discusses challenges to incrementalism that arose mainly in the context of economic and fiscal crisis that influenced the way the federal government made budgetary decisions. It then considers the relevance and importance of Wildavsky’s work on the politics of the budgetary process by highlighting several elements that have had profound implications for scholarship on budgeting.
This article discusses the concept of institution by examining the components of an institution and the way in which institutionalization can increase or decrease. It considers the place to be given to organizations and to procedures based on the definition of institutions. It reveals the major differences across the social sciences and in particular political, social, and economic fields. The article is also concerned with institutionalization, and reveals marked differences among the social sciences.
Johan P. Olsen
Ambiguity is intrinsic to life. Yet, mainstream accountability theory reduces its area of application by not taking ambiguity seriously. The literature treats too many aspects as exogenous to politics and is unlikely to capture accountability dynamics in contemporary representative democracies in transformation, including the European Union. Theorizing accountability requires going beyond predetermined principals and agents, detecting deviance from authoritative orders and rules, and disciplining unruly agents. An institutional perspective is offered, relaxing assumptions regarding what accountability means and implies; what is involved in demanding, rendering, assessing and responding to accounts; what factors foster effective accountability; and how accountability regimes emerge and change. The fluidity and unresolved conflicts of political life make it difficult to correctly assign causal responsibility and to learn from experience. Accountability processes, nevertheless, provide occasions for searching for and testing collective purpose, intelligence, meaning and political equality, as part of institutionalization and de-institutionalization processes.
This chapter advances three claims. First, it argues that the concepts of accountability and blame-avoidance have much in common and can be understood as mirror-image concepts for the “sanction-imposing” sense of accountability and the sense of blame avoidance that denotes outcome rather than activity. Second, it argues that there are different ways of conceiving and defining both concepts in their respective analytic literatures, and the mirror-image relationship tends to disappear once we move to those alternatives, particularly of accountability conceived as answerability and blame-avoidance conceived as activity rather than outcome. Third, it argues that cultural theory analysis can identify variants of both accountability and blame-avoidance which can deepen understanding of both the mirror-image aspects of the two phenomena and of relationships between them that go beyond a mirror-image.
Bodil Damgaard and Jenny M. Lewis
This chapter provides an analytical framework aimed at measuring citizen participation in public accountability processes beyond the fundamental mechanism of parliamentary elections. The framework juxtaposes and adapts ideas from Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation and Bovens’s notion of public accountability as containing important elements of learning. The resulting five levels of citizen participation in public accountability are based on increasing degrees of citizen participation, from non-participatory “education” (the lowest level) through involvement, advice, collaboration, and joint ownership (the highest level). As the levels are ascended, accountability-elements evolve from citizens’ passive reception of information to enabling citizens to pose questions, pass judgments, define and apply consequences and, finally, to engage in agenda- setting to ensure effectiveness and responsiveness. Some dilemmas and tensions arising from incorporating citizens into accountability measures at different levels are discussed.
This chapter argues that, although accountability is a term well understood in constitutional law, it is not a central term of art within the discipline. It explores the public law origins of the term first in the limited sense of financial accountability to parliamentary bodies and, more generally, as machinery for holding public actors responsible for their actions, such as the doctrine of ministerial responsibility in common law constitutions. The chapter explores concepts that parallel or provide for accountability within constitutional law, notably the rule of law principle; separation of powers; judicial independence and constitutionalism. It looks at the spread of these ideas in the modern world, from Europe, where they are culturally embedded, to societies unfamiliar with them. Finally, the implications for accountability of the arrival of transnational courts and human rights regimes are briefly considered.
This chapter first presents the major characteristics of multi-level governance and gives examples thereof from the European and the transnational level. It then identifies a number of properties of multi-level governance networks that can cause prejudice to their democratic “anchorage”: the widespread cooperative logic of interactions within networks, the weak visibility of networks due to their frequent lack of formalization, their loose coupling with the representative circuit, the lack of public accountability of some network actors (e.g., private interests), and the prevalence of “interdependence” accountability among network members. The chapter concludes that, in multi-level governance, there is a risk of the exercise of political power being divorced from democratic accountability and that accountable multi-level governance should not be equated with democratic government.
This chapter links the rise of public accountability to the wave of New Public Management (NPM) reforms. It argues that the relationship between increased managerial accountability and performance is contested and it is becoming increasingly clear that we have to operate with a multi-dimensional accountability concept going beyond hierarchical accountability. The chapter discusses tensions and dilemmas in the relationship between NPM and accountability, the volatile relationship between accountability and performance, and the ambiguities and appropriateness of accountability under NPM. It also addresses accountability in relation to post-NPM reforms and challenges for future research.
Principal-agent theory encapsulates a tradition of rational choice modeling in which some actor(s)—the principal(s)—uses whatever actions are available to provide incentives for some other actor(s)—the agent(s)—to make decisions that the principal most prefers. Because principal-agent theory focuses on the responsiveness of the agent’s decisions to the principal’s goals, and how this responsiveness is mediated by actions available to each actor as well as institutional settings in which they interact, it is a natural framework to study accountability in political institutions. This essay gives a basic overview of principal-agent theory and briefly reviews its application in two domains of political science: bureaucratic accountability to higher-level political actors, and electoral accountability of representatives to constituents. The essay emphasizes that principal-agent theory is in fact a highly flexible family of models, rather than an overarching set of assumptions and results.
José María Maravall
This article considers accountability and the survival of governments. A government is considered to be accountable when its citizens can hold it responsible for its actions and punish or reward it with their vote during the elections. The article begins with a look at the elections and the retrospective control of politicians. Some empirical evidence that has been gathered from retrospective models of elections is presented, and the limits of accountability are identified. Finally, non-electoral threats are discussed.
The notion of an accountability deficit is particularly associated with the absence of political control by democratically elected political representatives (where it is linked with a democracy deficit). The main sites for such a deficit are international relations, decoupling of responsibility for public services, and networked governance. Analysis of the deficit has prompted emphasis on alternative accountability mechanics as well as alternative definitions of “accountability” itself. To be useful, the concept should be widened beyond political control to include possible deficits in any type of accountability. Any claim to a particular accountability deficit needs to be made against a standard or yardstick of that type of accountability without the deficit. The normative implications of any particular deficit should also be made explicit, given that in some circumstances, such as accountability “overload”, a reduction in accountability can be viewed positively.
B. Guy Peters
Reconciling the permanence and expertise of the public bureaucracy with political control is a persistent problem in democracies. Accountability is an increasingly complex and difficult concept for public administration, and also becomes more difficult to ensure in an era of government reform. A key issue regarding accountability in public administration revolves around the tension between the “neutral competence” and “responsive competence” of civil servants. Accountability is pursued with an increasing number of instruments which reflect a move away from “command and control” toward softer and more collaborative instruments. In addition to traditional hierarchical instruments of accountability, newer instruments of accountability build on mutuality, competition and contrived randomness (Hood et al).
Mark H. Moore
Liberal societies have long been concerned about the effective control of the powerful governmental institutions that arise within them. Over the past decade and a half, governments have been reluctant to curb the power of private corporations, but the public has sought and found ways to call corporations to account without the mediation of government. In the “court of public opinion,” private “accountability agents” press their demands for accountability without legal backing. These accountability agents constitute the external accountability structure that all social organizations and enterprises face. The evolving processes are predicated on various legal structures and behavioral processes that help to endue organizations with social legitimacy by connecting external demands for accountability to the internal goals of the enterprise and its leadership.
This chapter examines international debates over civil service accountability. It begins with early twentieth-century theories of state forms of politically neutral public accountability from the bureaucracy to the political executive. It ends with multiple forms of accountability within and outside of government reflecting international experience about the limits of any one single model of civil service accountability. The bulk of the chapter maps out the many analytical frameworks now being used to measure civil service accountability. Analysts have been engaged in important academic and policy debates over the competing merits of many forms of accountability, including social accountability and whistle blowing. The chapter examines the leading analytical versions which attempt to balance the harms minimized by systemic accountability with the benefits promoted through official responsibility for greater official discretion. There is no magic solution, reflecting that civil servants themselves have no preferred model of accountability.
Erik-Hans Klijn and Joop F.M. Koppenjan
If public policies and services are decided upon and delivered in networks comprised of various parties from within and outside government, accountability often is seen as problematic. Traditional accountability mechanisms by which politicians, administrators, and civil servants are held accountable for their behavior and performance become problematic because of the interdependencies, complexities, and dynamics that characterize processes within governance networks. Furthermore, in such networks, accountability is complicated by the diverse mechanisms and standards necessarily introduced by the inclusion of parties from different organizations and domains. This chapter discusses how traditional forms of accountability within government relate to accountability processes in governance networks, identifies the main problems of accountability in governance networks, and suggests ways to redesign and enhance accountability in networks.
Barbara S. Romzek
This chapter reviews accountability issues that arise in service delivery, including traditional direct delivery as well as delivery through contracts, partnerships, intergovernmental collaborations and networks. Each of these delivery arrangements has elements of both formal accountability structures and informal accountability dynamics which present opportunities and challenges to effective accountability. The review identifies the key challenges to accountability that are typical for each of the various delivery strategies and offers several best practices that can mitigate, if not completely eliminate, challenges to effective accountability.
Christie Hayne and Steven E. Salterio
This chapter outlines the sources of public accountability in financial accounting practices and how public accounting (i.e., auditing) attempts to ensure financial accounts are trustworthy. External parties often have limited powers to compel managers to reveal financial information, and so laws and regulations require managers to account for the resources entrusted to them. The chapter also examines the demands for accounts beyond the financial to a broader range of subject matters such as environmental accounting and corporate social responsibility reporting. The chapter looks at the macro roles of financial statements and other accounts as acts of public accountability as well as the micro roles of accountability practices and pressures on individuals involved in attesting to these accounts as being “true and fair.”
Sanneke Kuipers and Paul 't Hart
Crises—be they natural disasters, industrial accidents or system collapses—are no longer seen as “acts of God”; they immediately invoke intense debates on culpability and consequences. Crisis management is scrutinized in and by different forums such as mass media, judicial authorities, independent investigators, and political inquiries. Strategies by accountees vary between blame re-allocation and exhibition of empathy (such as public apologies) and responsiveness. These strategies and the outcome of the accountability process affect private and organizational reputations, professional positions, public policies and, ultimately, such crisis-induced accountability processes produce societal re-equilibration.