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Governance and Accountability – A Shift in Conceptualisation

Author: TERO ERKKILÄ
Published in PAQ, Vol. 31 No. 1

Accountability has become a topic of concern in
governance literature. The question of holding politicians and
administration accountable in new governance environment, where
many traditional means for controlling government no longer fully
apply, has gained wide recognition. As a consequence, new types of
accountability have been sought and identified. The article
discusses the shifting conceptualisation of accountability in light of
governance literature. It argues that this shift can be related to the
structural changes that have taken place in politics and public
administrations from the late 1980’s to the present. Also, the
argument is made that instead of trying to identify new mechanisms
of accountability more attention should be paid to the
transformations taking place among traditional mechanisms of
accountability and their potential in the new institutional design.

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