Welfare Reforms, Accountability and Performance

Authored by: Per Lægreid , Kristin Rubecksen

The Routledge Handbook to Accountability and Welfare State Reforms in Europe

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472470591
eBook ISBN: 9781315612713
Adobe ISBN: 9781317044208


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The main theme of this chapter is the dynamics between administrative reforms in welfare states and accountability, as well as the relationships between accountability and performance. Both relationships are ambiguous and contested (Lægreid 2014). First, we address the relationship between administrative reforms and accountability. Better accountability has been a main driver of the reforms in the welfare state, but in practice the reforms have tended to make accountability relations more complex (Thomas 1998; Christensen and Lægreid 2015). An important question is what kind of accountability the executives perceive as appropriate (Romzek 2000). We want to examine how comprehensive reforms have affected the relationship between political, administrative, professional and social accountability. Second, we ask to what extent different accountability types affect perceived performance. Is there a clear relationship between accountability and better performance or is it loose and contested (Dubnick 2011)?

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