IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/erp/eurogo/p0005.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Analysing and Assessing Public Accountability. A Conceptual Framework

Author

Listed:
  • Bovens, Mark

Abstract

It has been argued that the European Union suffers from serious accountability deficits. But how can we establish the existence of accountability deficits? This paper tries to get to grips with the appealing but elusive concept of accountability by asking three types of questions, thus providing three types of building blocks for such an empirical study. First a conceptual one: what exactly is meant by accountability? Accountability is often used in a very broad sense, as a synonym for a variety of evaluative, but essentially contestable concepts, such as responsiveness, responsibility and effectiveness. In this paper the concept of accountability is taken in a much more narrow sense: a relationship between an actor and a forum, in which the actor has an obligation to explain and to justify his or her conduct, the forum can pose questions and pass judgment, and the actor may face consequences. The second question is an analytical one: what types of accountability are involved? On the basis of the narrow definition of accountability, a series of dimensions of accountability will be discerned, that can be used in the description of the various accountability relations and arrangements that can be found in the different domains of governance. The third question is an altogether different, evaluative question: how should we assess these accountability relations, arrangements and regimes? The paper provides three perspectives for the assessment of accountability relations: a democratic, a constitutional, and a cybernetic perspective. Each of these three perspectives may render different types of accountability deficits.

Suggested Citation

  • Bovens, Mark, 2006. "Analysing and Assessing Public Accountability. A Conceptual Framework," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 1, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:eurogo:p0005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mzes.uni-mannheim.de/projekte/typo3/site/fileadmin/wp/abstract/C-06-01.htm
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.connex-network.org/eurogov/pdf/egp-connex-C-06-01.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thompson, Dennis F., 1980. "Moral Responsibility of Public Officials: The Problem of Many Hands," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 905-916, December.
    2. Sartori, Giovanni, 1970. "Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 1033-1053, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Pauline Allen & David Hughes & Peter Vincent-Jones & Christina Petsoulas & Shane Doheny & Jennifer A. Roberts, 2016. "Public Contracts as Accountability Mechanisms: Assuring quality in public health care in England and Wales," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(1), pages 20-39, January.
    2. Enefiok E. Essien, 2013. "Accountability and the Experience of the 2007 Global Financial Crisis," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(6), pages 785-791, June.
    3. Mattei, Paola, 2007. "The welfare state and new challenge from the back door," TranState Working Papers 65, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
    4. Deepa Narayan & Lant Pritchett & Soumya Kapoor, 2009. "Moving Out of Poverty : Volume 2. Success from the Bottom Up," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11838, July.
    5. MARTENS, David, 2020. "FAT Flow: A data science ethics framework," Working Papers 2020004, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    6. Maliheh Mansouri & Julie Rowney, 2014. "The Dilemma of Accountability for Professionals: A Challenge for Mainstream Management Theories," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 45-56, August.
    7. Andersen, Torben M., 2013. "Fiscal policy targeting under imperfect information," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 114-130.
    8. Matthew Flinders, 2010. "Splintered Logic and Political Debate," Chapters, in: Graeme A. Hodge & Carsten Greve & Anthony E. Boardman (ed.), International Handbook on Public–Private Partnerships, chapter 6, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Popoola, Oluwatoyin Muse Johnson & Che-Ahmad, Ayoib & Samsudin, Rose Shamsiah, 2014. "Fraud and Forensic Accounting: Knowledge and Risk Assessment Task Performance in Malaysian Public Sector – Conceptual study," MPRA Paper 66680, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2014.
    10. Torben M. Andersen, 2013. "The Swedish Fiscal Policy Framework and Intermediate Fiscal Policy Targets," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 149(II), pages 231-248, June.
    11. Francisco Torres, 2006. "On the efficiency-legitimacy trade-off in EMU," Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) 36, Departamento de Economia, Gestão e Engenharia Industrial, Universidade de Aveiro.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Gustav Lidén, 2013. "What about theory? The consequences on a widened perspective of social theory," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 213-225, January.
    2. Peters, Ina, 2014. "Too Abstract to Be Feasible? Applying the Grounded Theory Method in Social Movement Research," GIGA Working Papers 247, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    3. Pursey Heugens & J. Oosterhout & Muel Kaptein, 2006. "Foundations and Applications for Contractualist Business Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 68(3), pages 211-228, October.
    4. Thomas Denk, 2013. "How to measure polyarchy with Freedom House: a proposal for revision," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(6), pages 3457-3471, October.
    5. Sarah Maslen & Jan Hayes & Janice Wong & Christina Scott-Young, 2020. "Witch hunts and scapegoats: an investigation into the impact of personal liability concerns on engineers’ reporting of risks," Environment Systems and Decisions, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 413-426, September.
    6. Livia Johannesson & Noomi Weinryb, 2021. "How to blame and make a difference: perceived responsibility and policy consequences in two Swedish pro-migrant campaigns," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 54(1), pages 41-62, March.
    7. Liesbet Hooghe & Gary Marks, 2015. "Delegation and pooling in international organizations," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 305-328, September.
    8. Jessica F Green, 2017. "Policy entrepreneurship in climate governance: Toward a comparative approach," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 35(8), pages 1471-1482, December.
    9. Kaminski Joseph Jon, 2019. "Rethinking Realism and Constructivism Through the Lenses of Themes and Ontological Primacy," Croatian International Relations Review, Sciendo, vol. 25(85), pages 6-29, November.
    10. Mueller, Klaus, 1997. "East European studies, neo-totalitarianism and social science theory," Discussion Papers, Presidential Department P 97-004, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    11. Gutiérrez Sanín, Francisco, 2009. "The quandaries of coding and ranking: evaluating poor state performance indexes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28483, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Riccardo Pelizzo, 2018. "Democracy and Governance," Research Africa Network Working Papers 18/004, Research Africa Network (RAN).
    13. Arnošt Veselý, 2017. "Policy advice as policy work: a conceptual framework for multi-level analysis," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 50(1), pages 139-154, March.
    14. Iris Wanzenböck & Joeri H Wesseling & Koen Frenken & Marko P Hekkert & K Matthias Weber, 0. "A framework for mission-oriented innovation policy: Alternative pathways through the problem–solution space," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 474-489.
    15. Pesch, Udo, 2015. "Tracing discursive space: Agency and change in sustainability transitions," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 90(PB), pages 379-388.
    16. repec:bla:glopol:v:8:y:2017:i::p:75-84 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Klaus H. Goetz & Ronny Patz & Jörn Ege & Michael W. Bauer, 2017. "How Financial Resources Affect the Autonomy of International Public Administrations," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 8(s5), pages 75-84, August.
    18. Bechle, Karsten, 2010. "Neopatrimonialism in Latin America: Prospects and Promises of a Neglected Concept," GIGA Working Papers 153, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    19. Prasetyono, Pipin, 2017. "Facilitating payments: an ethical problem in the Indonesian bureaucracy," MPRA Paper 97656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. McGovern, Patrick, 2014. "Contradictions at work: a critical review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 45188, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    21. Legewie, Nicholas, 2018. "Anchored Calibration: From Qualitative Data to Fuzzy Sets," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    accountability; governance; democracy; political science; law; sociology;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:eurogo:p0005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.connex-network.org/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jessica Spiegel The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Jessica Spiegel to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.connex-network.org/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.