Retrieving the Meaning of Accountability in Financial Market Regulation

Posted: 27 Sep 2009

See all articles by Melvin Dubnick

Melvin Dubnick

University of New Hampshire

Justin O’Brien

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Date Written: September 3, 2009

Abstract

Building on Raymond Williams' approach to analyzing 'keywords' we seek to further explore the pervasive yet ambiguous concept of accountability through an examination of its use in discourses surrounding the recent global financial market crisis. We pay particular attention to the term’s use as both 'cause of' and 'cure for' the current crisis. We relate this to the various strategies of reform that emerge from the ongoing rhetoric and analyses, noting that the creative ambiguity over accountability’s precise meaning serves a distinct policy objective; namely, the privileging of the symbolic over the substantive. We argue that this threatens to undermine the efficacy of reform, making the promises of enhanced accountability a hollow claim. In the process we develop some frameworks for future extension of this analysis.

Keywords: accountability, financial markets, regulatory reform, financial crisis

JEL Classification: E44, G15, G18, G28, G38

Suggested Citation

Dubnick, Melvin and O’Brien, Justin, Retrieving the Meaning of Accountability in Financial Market Regulation (September 3, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1478865

Melvin Dubnick (Contact Author)

University of New Hampshire ( email )

20 Academic Way
Horton Hall
Durham, NH 03824
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mjdubnick.dubnick.net

Justin O’Brien

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of New South Wales (UNSW) ( email )

Kensington
High St
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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