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The reputational basis of public accountability

Busuioc, Madalina and Lodge, Martin (2016) The reputational basis of public accountability. Governance, 29 (2). pp. 247-263. ISSN 0952-1895

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Identification Number: 10.1111/gove.12161

Abstract

This paper proposes a reputation-based approach to account for two core puzzles of accountability. The first is the misfit between behavioural predictions of the hegemonic political science framework for talking about accountability, namely principal-agent, and empirical findings. The second puzzle is the unrivalled popularity of accountability, given evidence that supposedly accountability-enhancing measures often lead to opposite effects. A ‘reputation-informed’ theoretical approach to public accountability suggests that accountability is not about reducing informational asymmetries, containing ‘drift’, or ensuring that agents stay committed to the terms of their mandate. Accountability – in terms of both holding and giving – is about managing and cultivating one’s reputation vis-à-vis different audiences. It is about being seen as a reputable actor in the eyes of one’s audience(s), conveying the impression of competently performing one’s (accountability) roles, thereby generating reputational benefits.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(IS...
Additional Information: © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Divisions: Government
Centre for Analysis of Risk & Regulation
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Research centres and groups > Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR)
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2015 10:58
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2019 11:34
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/62494

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