Contrast and Foundation of the Public Oversight Roles of the Us General Accountability Office and the UK National Audit Office

Public Administration Review, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2008

See all articles by Simon Norton

Simon Norton

Cardiff University - Business School

Murphy Smith

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-Department of Accounting

Date Written: April 15, 2008

Abstract

This paper examines and compares, according to the new public management (NPM) approach, the United States watchdog, the General Accountability Office (GAO), in its ability to oversee and call to account the executive branch of government and its United Kingdom counterpart, the National Audit Office (NAO). Results of this examination indicate that the GAO is more effective than its UK counterpart. The greater effectiveness of the GAO may be that it derives its powers and legitimacy from the existence of a written constitution; in contrast, in the UK there is no equivalent 'sacrosanct' document defining the relationship between the state and the citizenry. As a consequence the powers, duties, and self-perception of the NAO are significantly weaker and more mutable than those of the GAO.

Keywords: Public oversight, new public management, General Accountability Office, GAO, National Audit Office, NAO

JEL Classification: M41, H1

Suggested Citation

Norton, Simon and Smith, Murphy, Contrast and Foundation of the Public Oversight Roles of the Us General Accountability Office and the UK National Audit Office (April 15, 2008). Public Administration Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1262959

Simon Norton

Cardiff University - Business School ( email )

Colum Drive
Cardiff CF10 3EU, CF1 3YN
United Kingdom

Murphy Smith (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-Department of Accounting ( email )

6300 Ocean Dr
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
United States

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