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Accountability as a bureaucratic minefield: lessons from a comparative study

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The large and growing literature on accountability highlights a variety of mechanisms by which bureaucrats may be held accountable as regards their role in the policy-making process. This paper looks at accountability mechanisms from the bureaucrat's perspective using material gathered for a study of bureaucratic roles in rulemaking in Sweden, Germany, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and the European Union. It asks to which of the mechanisms for securing public accountability for executive decisions do bureaucrats pay particular attention when helping develop policy: where are the minefields they feel they have to negotiate? The most important of the minefields is political executive approval. It shapes the way the other mechanisms (group opinion, the legislative and judicial branches of government) are negotiated. Thus 'ministerial responsibility' and its equivalents in the other countries remain crucial features of systems of administrative accountability.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/35205/

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