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The Voluntary Sector And Public Participation: The Case Of Hungary

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  • Susan Rose-Ackerman

Abstract

Government policymakers need to be accountable to citizens, but much government policymaking occurs in ministries that are imperfectly monitored and controlled by the popularly elected legislature. There are good reasons for such delegation, grounded in the expertise of officials and the scarce time of legislators, but the affirmative justifications for delegation do not vitiate the need for public officials to consult with the public and with organized civil society advocacy groups. This article argues that the new democracies of Central Europe have underemphasized this consultative aspect of the transition to democracy. To illustrate, it concentrates on the case of environmental policymaking in Hungary, one of the more advanced democracies in the region. A handful of voluntary civil society organizations play an important role, but the relative weakness of the organizational landscape and of the groups' legal rights to participate in policymaking limit their impact. The article proposes ways to strengthen the role of civil society advocacy groups in emerging democracies. Copyright © 2008 The Author Journal compilation © CIRIEC 2008.

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  • Susan Rose-Ackerman, 2008. "The Voluntary Sector And Public Participation: The Case Of Hungary," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 79(3-4), pages 601-623, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:annpce:v:79:y:2008:i:3-4:p:601-623
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