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date: 28 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: accountability, democracy deficit, accountability deficit, accountability overload, accountability in decoupling, international accountability, networked governance

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