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Account Me In: Agencies in Quest of Accountability

70 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2009 Last revised: 14 Nov 2012

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Date Written: March 23, 2010

Abstract

This articles adds to the literature about accountability by examining the little-studied phenomenon of agencies making efforts — sometimes substantial efforts - to be accountable. It briefly describes how three agencies — the EPA, the FDA and especially the IRS — worked to increase their accountability. It demonstrates that agencies are often not the enemy in the “accountability game”. In today’s world agencies, contrary to the stereotype, often buy into the language and practice of accountability. It addresses three arguments for this behavior: a rational choice argument based on comparison of the costs of non-accountability with the benefits of accountability; a power of ideas argument showing that agencies, like individuals, can respond to new ideas of governance; and a role conception argument based on agencies’ choice to increase their accountability into their view of their mission.

Keywords: Accountability, Public Administration

Suggested Citation

Reiss, Dorit Rubinstein, Account Me In: Agencies in Quest of Accountability (March 23, 2010). Brooklyn Journal of Law and Policy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450668

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
415-5654844 (Phone)
415-5654865 (Fax)

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