Advertisement

The Politics of Backlash: Critiques of the New Accountability Agenda

  • Anne Marie Goetz
  • Rob Jenkins
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)

Abstract

One indication that a new accountability agenda is indeed emerging is the political backlash it has engendered. The motives of the critics vary widely, and are expressed differently in different contexts. In this chapter, we examine three streams of criticism: (1) that the design of new accountability initiatives tends to depoliticize the activism of the poor, or at least to channel it into activities that fail to challenge the structural power of political elites; (2) that non-state-centred accountability experiments stunt the development of formal political institutions; and (3) that the increasing surveillance of officials stifles bureaucratic initiative and inhibits the development of a public-service culture more generally.

Keywords

Civil Society Accountability Mechanism Democratic Accountability Accountability Relationship Accountability Institution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Pratap Bhanu Mehta, ‘Is Electoral and Institutional Reform the Answer?’ Seminar 506 (’Reforming Politics: A Symposium on Rethinking Democratic Institutions and Practice’), October 2001, emphasis added.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    John Harriss, Depoliticizing Development: The World Bank and Social Capital (Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2001), pp. 124–5.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Neera Chandhoke, ‘Governance and the Pluralisation of the State: Implications for Democratic Citizenship’, Economic and Political Weekly, 12 July 2003, p. 2966.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    World Bank, Participation and Civic Engagement Team, ‘The Role of Civic Engagement and Social Accountability in the Governance Equation’ (Washington, DC, 2003).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Benjamin Goldfrank, ‘The Fragile Flower of Local Democracy: A Case Study of Decentralization/Participation in Montevideo’, Politics and Society, vol. 30, no. 1 (March 2002), pp. 51–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gianpaolo Baiocchi, ‘Participation, Activism, and Politics: The Porto Alegre Expermiment and Deliberative Democratic Theory’, Politics and Society, vol. 29, no. 1 (2001), p. 54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 8.
    Mick Moore, ‘Politics and the Drivers of Pro-Poor Change in Bangladesh’, Report to the UK Department for International Development, Dhaka, 28 February 2003, p. 17.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    See Rob Jenkins and Maxton Tsoka, ‘Institutionalisation and Malawi’s PRSP’, Development Policy Review, vol. 21, no. 3 (2003), pp. 197–215. Almost all of the seven other country cases covered in this special issue of the DPR revealed their parliaments to have played, at best, a secondary role.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 11.
    This was how the arguments were reported by J.F. Northey in a contribution to Donald Rowat, The Ombudsman: Citizen’s Defender (London: Allen and Unwin, 1968), p. 142.Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    B. Gilling, The Ombudsman in New Zealand (Palmerston North, NZ: Dunmore Press, 1998). This and the Rowat volume cited above were discussed in John Martin’s review in the Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, vol. 38, no. 1 (2000), p. 115.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    John Ferejohn, ‘The Law of Politics: Judicializing Politics, Politicizing Law’, Law and Contemporary Problems, vol. 65, no. 3 (2002), pp. 41–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Charles Epp, The Rights Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    T.C.A. Anant and Jaivir Singh, ‘An Economic Analysis of Judicial Activism’, Economic and Political Weekly, 26 October 2002, pp. 4438–9.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003).Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    To take another example, Jackson’s overview of how juries can be made more accountable is both an instance of, and a rebuke to, the democratization of accountability. J.D. Jackson, ‘Making Juries Accountable’, American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 50, no. 3 (2002), pp. 477–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 19.
    Paul Hirst, Associative Democracy (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993).Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    Samuel G. Freedman, ‘Good Riddance to the School Boards’, New York Times, 15 April 2003.Google Scholar
  18. 22.
    Samuel P. Huntington, American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1981), p. 210.Google Scholar
  19. This view was expressed in a number of forums at which earlier versions of this book were presented, in particular in workshops conducted by the UNDP Human Development Report Office in preparation for the UNDP Human Development Report 2002: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).Google Scholar
  20. 23.
    Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1968).Google Scholar
  21. 24.
    Information used for performance contracts can easily be distorted. For instance, when stricter measures of school performance were introduced in the 1990s in the United Kingdom, head teachers redefined truancies as ‘excused absences’, rendering one performance measure utterly inaccurate. See C.T. Fitz-Gibbon, Monitoring Education: Indicators, Quality and Effectiveness (London: Cassell, 1996).Google Scholar
  22. See also Simon Burgess, Carol Propper and Deborah Wilson, ‘Does Performance Monitoring Work? A Review of the Evidence from the UK Public Sector, Excluding Health Care’, CMPO Working Paper Series 02/49 (Bristol: University of Bristol, Department of Economics, 2002).Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector (Boston: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1992).Google Scholar
  24. 26.
    Onora O’Neill, A Question of Trust: The BBC Reith Lectures 2002 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).Google Scholar
  25. 27.
    Michael Power, The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 28.
    There is a large and varied literature on the costs of declining trust — whether in economic transactions, or in social relations more generally. For reasonably accessible accounts, see Barbara A. Misztal, Trust in Modem Societies: The Search for the Bases of Social Order (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  27. Francis Fukuyama, Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity (New York: Macmillan, 1995).Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    Canice Prendergast, ‘Selection and Oversight in the Public Sector, with the Los Angeles Police Department as an Example’, paper presented at the ‘Development Economics Conference on Social Service Delivery’, World Bank, 21–22 February 2002.Google Scholar
  29. 30.
    Robert Klitgaard, ‘Incentive Myopia’, World Development, vol. 17, no. 4 (1989), pp. 447–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 31.
    A. Gelb, J.B. Knight, and R.H. Sabot, ‘Public Sector Employment, Rent Seeking, and Economic Growth’, The Economic Journal, vol. 101, no. 418 (1991), pp. 1186–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 33.
    Colin Campbell, ‘Turning Full-Circle? Public Choice, Problems with Implementation and the Return to Trusteeship in Public Service’, paper presented at the 18th World Congress of the International Political Science Association, Quebec City, Canada, 1–6 August 2000.Google Scholar
  32. 34.
    K. Jayalakshmi, Tasnim Khorakiwala, Gopinath Reddy, Ratna Reddy, Vikas Singh, Anne Marie Goetz and Rob Jenkins, ‘State Responsiveness to Poverty: A Comparative Study of Development Interventions in the Indian States of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh’ (London: Department for International Development/Social Science Research Unit, mimeo, 2003). At the time of writing, the draconian punch-card system still had the status of a proposal, and had not yet been enacted.Google Scholar
  33. 35.
    Ngaire Woods and Amrita Narlikar, ‘Governance and the Limits of Accountability: The WTO, the IMF and the World Bank’, International Social Science Journal, no. 170 (November 2001).Google Scholar
  34. 36.
    Judith Tendler, Good Governance in the Tropics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  35. 37.
    The source for these statistics and the case study that follows is J. Tendler and S. Freedheim, Trust in a Rent-Seeking World: Health and Government Transformed in Northeast Brazil’, World Development, vol. 22, no. 12 (1994), pp. 1771–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 38.
    See Michael Lipsky, Street-Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1980).Google Scholar
  37. 39.
    Merilee S. Grindle and Mary E. Hilderbrand, ‘Building Sustainable Capacity in the Public Sector: What Can Be Done?’ Public Administration and Development, vol. 15, no. 5 (1995), pp. 442–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Anne Marie Goetz and Rob Jenkins 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Marie Goetz
  • Rob Jenkins

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations