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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). 247 - 263. ISSN 0952-1895

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Identification Number: 10.1111/gove.12161


This article proposes a reputation‐based approach to account for two core puzzles of accountability. The first is the misfit between behavioral predictions of the hegemonic political science framework for talking about accountability, namely, principal–agent, and empirical findings. The second puzzle is the unrivaled 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
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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: 17 Aug 2021 18:12

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