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Social Accountability: What Does the Evidence Really Say?

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  • Fox, Jonathan A.

Abstract

Empirical evidence of tangible impacts of social accountability initiatives is mixed. This meta-analysis reinterprets evaluations through a new lens: the distinction between tactical and strategic approaches to the promotion of citizen voice to contribute to improved public sector performance. Field experiments study bounded, tactical interventions based on optimistic assumptions about the power of information alone, both to motivate collective action and to influence the state. Enabling environments for collective action combined with bolstered state capacity to respond to citizen voice are more promising. Sandwich strategies can help ‘voice’ and ‘teeth’ to become mutually empowering, through state–society synergy.

Suggested Citation

  • Fox, Jonathan A., 2015. "Social Accountability: What Does the Evidence Really Say?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 346-361.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:72:y:2015:i:c:p:346-361
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.03.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fischer, Harry W., 2016. "Beyond Participation and Accountability: Theorizing Representation in Local Democracy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 111-122.
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:160-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Akerkar, Supriya & Joshi, P.C. & Fordham, Maureen, 2016. "Cultures of Entitlement and Social Protection: Evidence from Flood Prone Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 46-58.
    4. repec:eee:wdevel:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:158-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Chicoine, Luke & Guzman, Juan Carlos, 2017. "Increasing Rural Health Clinic Utilization with SMS Updates: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 419-430.
    6. Mayumana, Iddy & Borghi, Jo & Anselmi, Laura & Mamdani, Masuma & Lange, Siri, 2017. "Effects of Payment for Performance on accountability mechanisms: Evidence from Pwani, Tanzania," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 61-73.
    7. repec:bla:devpol:v:35:y:2017:i::p:o178-o195 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:wdevel:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:60-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:fpr:ifprib:9780896292710 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. David William Walker, 2016. "How Systemic Inquiry Releases Citizen Knowledge to Reform Schools: Community Scorecard Case Studies," Systemic Practice and Action Research, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 313-334, August.
    11. Lujala, Päivi & Brunnschweiler, Christa & Edjekumhene, Ishmael, 2018. "Transparent for whom? Dissemination of information on Ghana’s petroleum and mining revenue management," MPRA Paper 84788, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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