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Promoting Accountability in Multi-Level Governance: A Network Approach


  • Harlow, Carol
  • Rawlings, Richard


This paper seeks to address problems of accountability in systems of multi-level governance organized around networks, more particularly the system obtaining in the European Union. Discussion of these problems has previously focused on the ‘accountability deficit’ created when gaps are left by the accountability machinery of two of the several levels of government, supranational and national. This paper suggests that the hierarchical and pyramidal assumptions that presently underpin accountability theory in the EU context need to be tested and that new evaluative frameworks may be necessary. Using case studies of the Community Courts and European Ombudsman as examples, the paper suggests that new, flatter ‘accountability networks’ are emerging, composed of agencies specializing in a specific method of accountability, which come together or coalesce in a relationship of mutual dependency, fortified by shared professional expertise and ethos. These might ultimately be capable of providing effective machinery for accountability in network governance systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Harlow, Carol & Rawlings, Richard, 2006. "Promoting Accountability in Multi-Level Governance: A Network Approach," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 2, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:eurogo:p0006

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    Cited by:

    1. Djordjija Petkoski & Danielle Warren & William Laufer, 2009. "Collective Strategies in Fighting Corruption: Some Intuitions and Counter Intuitions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 88(4), pages 815-822, October.
    2. Veit Bader, 2008. "Eurospheres? Fragmented and Stratified or Integrated and Fair? A conceptual and pretheoreticalmapping exercise," EUROSPHERE Working Paper Series (EWP) 9, Eurospheres project.
    3. Elisabetta Nadalutti, 2014. "What kind of governance does emerge in EU cross-border regions and Southeast Asia growth triangles? Italy-Slovenia and Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore border zones revisited," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 365-382, December.

    More about this item


    governance; accountability; networks; European Court of Justice; European Ombudsman;
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