Mapping Accountability: Core Concept and Subtypes
International Review of Administrative Sciences 79(2): 202-226.
26 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2014
Date Written: 2013
The recent surge in popularity of ‘accountability’ in public administration and international development seems in part divorced from centuries of conceptual and empirical work done in related disciplines of finance and accounting, and in political science. This article brings together the core meaning of accountability as used in hundreds of previous works, and seeks to bring order to the litany of subtypes in this literature. An organizing scheme with three dimensions (source of control, strength of control, and direction of relationship) captures all the existing varying types of accountability. The resulting typology also clarifies that varying subtypes have not only different actors and characteristics, but also seek to uphold varying values and are facing different challenges. These have important implications both for research and the (im)possibility of translating findings from one subtype field to another; as well as practical implications for the policy world.
Keywords: accountability, administration, concept formation, politics, principal-agent, types of accountability
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