Regulatory Reform, Accountability and Blame in Public Service Delivery

The public transport crisis in Berlin

Authored by: Tobias Bach , Kai Wegrich

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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Among the many promises of reforms of the ‘regulatory state’ type, the clarification of accountability relations features prominently. While not always using the language of accountability, a major argument against the state as direct provider of a range of public services was that accountability relations were unclear: state providers of services such as telecommunications and transport were hybrids between commercial enterprises and public service providers that were largely self-regulatory in terms of service provision and technical safety (Lodge and Wegrich 2012). The governance of such enterprises allowed political logics to trump economic rationales, and it was unclear in how far the management of these companies should follow either a political or a managerial logic, as they had to provide ‘essential public services’ in an economically efficient way.

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