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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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.

Keywords: Ladder of participation, learning in accountability, citizen participation, bureaucratic accountability, accountability framework

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