…a Compendium of Works on:
Corinthians 3:12-15 | Matthew 25:29
Luke 16:10-12 | James 4:17
Romans 1:21-22 | Luke 12:48
“Helping Individuals, Organizations & Communities
Achieve Their Full Potential”
Special Edition| NpA October 2021
Walk by Faith; Serve with Abandon
Expect to Win!
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The Advocacy Foundation, Inc.
Helping Individuals, Organizations & Communities
Achieve Their Full Potential
Since its founding in 2003, The Advocacy Foundation has become recognized as an effective
provider of support to those who receive our services, having real impact within the communities
we serve. We are currently engaged in community and faith-based collaborative initiatives,
having the overall objective of eradicating all forms of youth violence and correcting injustices
everywhere. In carrying-out these initiatives, we have adopted the evidence-based strategic
framework developed and implemented by the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency
The stated objectives are:
1. Community Mobilization;
2. Social Intervention;
3. Provision of Opportunities;
4. Organizational Change and Development;
5. Suppression [of illegal activities].
Moreover, it is our most fundamental belief that in order to be effective, prevention and
intervention strategies must be Community Specific, Culturally Relevant, Evidence-Based, and
Collaborative. The Violence Prevention and Intervention programming we employ in
implementing this community-enhancing framework include the programs further described
throughout our publications, programs and special projects both domestically and
ISBN: ......... ../2017
......... Printed in the USA
Advocacy Foundation Publishers
(878) 222-0450 | Voice | Data | SMS
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Every publication in our many series’ is dedicated to everyone, absolutely everyone, who by
virtue of their calling and by Divine inspiration, direction and guidance, is on the battlefield dayafter-day
striving to follow God’s will and purpose for their lives. And this is with particular affinity
for those Spiritual warriors who are being transformed into excellence through daily academic,
professional, familial, and other challenges.
We pray that you will bear in mind:
Matthew 19:26 (NLT)
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.
But with God everything is possible.” (Emphasis added)
To all of us who daily look past our circumstances, and naysayers, to what the Lord says we will
- The Advocacy Foundation, Inc.
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The Transformative Justice Project
Eradicating Juvenile Delinquency Requires a Multi-Disciplinary Approach
The Juvenile Justice system is incredibly
overloaded, and Solutions-Based programs are
woefully underfunded. Our precious children,
therefore, particularly young people of color, often
get the “swift” version of justice whenever they
come into contact with the law.
Decisions to build prison facilities are often based
on elementary school test results, and our country
incarcerates more of its young than any other
nation on earth. So we at The Foundation labor to
pull our young people out of the “school to prison”
pipeline, and we then coordinate the efforts of the
legal, psychological, governmental and
educational professionals needed to bring an end
We also educate families, police, local businesses,
elected officials, clergy, and schools and other
stakeholders about transforming whole communities, and we labor to change their
thinking about the causes of delinquency with the goal of helping them embrace the
idea of restoration for the young people in our care who demonstrate repentance for
The way we accomplish all this is a follows:
1. We vigorously advocate for charges reductions, wherever possible, in the
adjudicatory (court) process, with the ultimate goal of expungement or pardon, in order
to maximize the chances for our clients to graduate high school and progress into
college, military service or the workforce without the stigma of a criminal record;
2. We then enroll each young person into an Evidence-Based, Data-Driven
Restorative Justice program designed to facilitate their rehabilitation and subsequent
reintegration back into the community;
3. While those projects are operating, we conduct a wide variety of ComeUnity-
ReEngineering seminars and workshops on topics ranging from Juvenile Justice to
Parental Rights, to Domestic issues to Police friendly contacts, to mental health
intervention, to CBO and FBO accountability and compliance;
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4. Throughout the process, we encourage and maintain frequent personal contact
between all parties;
5 Throughout the process we conduct a continuum of events and fundraisers
designed to facilitate collaboration among professionals and community stakeholders;
6. 1 We disseminate Quarterly publications, like our e-Advocate series Newsletter
and our e-Advocate Quarterly electronic Magazine to all regular donors in order to
facilitate a lifelong learning process on the ever-evolving developments in the Justice
And in addition to the help we provide for our young clients and their families, we also
facilitate Community Engagement through the Restorative Justice process,
thereby balancing the interests of local businesses, schools, clergy, social assistance
organizations, elected officials, law enforcement entities, and all interested
stakeholders. Through these efforts, relationships are rebuilt & strengthened, local
businesses and communities are enhanced & protected from victimization, young
careers are developed, and our precious young people are kept out of the prison
Additionally, we develop Transformative “Void Resistance” (TVR) initiatives to elevate
concerns of our successes resulting in economic hardship for those employed by the
TVR is an innovative-comprehensive process that works in conjunction with our
Transformative Justice initiatives to transition the original use and purpose of current
systems into positive social impact operations, which systematically retrains current
staff, renovates facilities, creates new employment opportunities, increases salaries and
is data proven to enhance employee’s mental wellbeing and overall quality of life – an
exponential Transformative Social Impact benefit for ALL community stakeholders.
This is a massive undertaking, and we need all the help and financial support you can
give! We plan to help 75 young persons per quarter-year (aggregating to a total of 250
per year) in each jurisdiction we serve) at an average cost of under $2,500 per client,
per year. *
Thank you in advance for your support!
In addition to supporting our world-class programming and support services, all regular donors receive our Quarterly e-Newsletter
(The e-Advocate), as well as The e-Advocate Quarterly Magazine.
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1. The national average cost to taxpayers for minimum-security youth incarceration,
is around $43,000.00 per child, per year.
2. The average annual cost to taxpayers for maximum-security youth incarceration
is well over $148,000.00 per child, per year.
- (US News and World Report, December 9, 2014);
3. In every jurisdiction in the nation, the Plea Bargain rate is above 99%.
The Judicial system engages in a tri-partite balancing task in every single one of these
matters, seeking to balance Rehabilitative Justice with Community Protection and
Judicial Economy, and, although the practitioners work very hard to achieve positive
outcomes, the scales are nowhere near balanced where people of color are involved.
We must reverse this trend, which is right now working very much against the best
interests of our young.
Our young people do not belong behind bars.
- Jack Johnson
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The Advocacy Foundation, Inc.
Helping Individuals, Organizations & Communities
Achieve Their Full Potential
…a compendium of works on
“Turning the Improbable Into the Exceptional”
John C Johnson III
Founder & CEO
Voice | Data | SMS
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Romans 14:12 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
I Corinthians 3:12-15 “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver,
precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will
declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of
what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a
reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet
so as through fire.”
Matthew 25:29 “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have
abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”
Luke 16:10-12 “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is
unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in
the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you
have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?”
James 4:17 “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is
Romans 1:21-22 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God,
nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were
darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.”
Luke 12:48 “But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will
receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be
required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
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Table of Contents
…a compilation of works on
I. Introduction: Accountability …………………………………………. 17
II. Good Governance …………………………………………………… ..
III. Due Diligence …………………………………….………………….. ..
IV. Integrity Management ………………………………………………. ..
V. Euthenics………………………….. ………………………………… ..
VI. Social Design…………….………………………………………….. ..
VII. Moral Responsibility………………………………......……………. ..
VIII. The Declaration of Human Rights and Responsibilities………... ..
IX. References……………………………………………………..... ..
A. Accountability In Governance
B. Accountability, Transparency, Participation and Inclusion: A New
C. Accountability: The Core Concept and Its Subtypes
Copyright © 2018 The Advocacy Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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This work is not meant to be a piece of original academic
analysis, but rather draws very heavily on the work of
scholars in a diverse range of fields. All material drawn upon
is referenced appropriately.
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In ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability,
and the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central
to discussions related to problems in the public sector, nonprofit and private (corporate)
and individual contexts. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and
assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the
administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or
employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be
answerable for resulting consequences.
In governance, accountability has
expanded beyond the basic
definition of "being called to
account for one's actions". It is
frequently described as an
between individuals, e.g. "A
is accountable to B when A is
obliged to inform B about A's
(past or future) actions and
decisions, to justify them, and to
suffer punishment in the case of
Accountability cannot exist without
proper accounting practices; in other words,
an absence of accounting means an absence of
Accountability is an element of a RACI to indicate who is ultimately
answerable for the correct and thorough completion of the deliverable or task,
and the one who delegates the work to those responsible.
There are various reasons (legitimate or excuses) why accountability fails.
History and Etymology
"Accountability" stems from late Latin accomptare (to account), a prefixed form of
computare (to calculate), which in turn derived from putare (to reckon). While the word
itself does not appear in English until its use in 13th century Norman England, the
concept of account-giving has ancient roots in record keeping activities related to
governance and money-lending systems that first developed in Ancient Egypt, Israel,
Babylon, Greece, and later, Rome.
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Bruce Stone, O.P. Dwivedi, and Joseph G. Jabbra list 8 types of accountability, namely:
moral, administrative, political, managerial, market, legal/judicial, constituency relation,
and professional. Leadership accountability cross cuts many of these distinctions.
Political accountability is the accountability of the government, civil servants and
politicians to the public and to legislative bodies such as a congress or a parliament.
Hirschman makes substantial contributions to accountability theory, positing exit or
voice as pivotal accountability mechanisms. The relationship between the governor and
governed (i.e., [autonomous (auto) - dependent (dep)], [auto-auto], [dep-dep], [depauto]
) functions such that the prospect of citizen exit can, not only disciplines ex ante,
but also ex post if the state is dependent on the citizens. The literature connects this
disposition of autonomy or dependence to its fiscal capacity. States that are most
responsive adjust to exit or voice. Clark & Golder model the dynamics of Hirschman's
theory and elaborate important aspects like those that operationalize loyalty as an
active choice. Exit, voice, and loyalty will be expressed in different ways under differing
regimes and given the relevant assumptions. All three of these sufficiently broad
categories present ways and means of holding the state accountable.
Recall elections can be used to revoke the office of an elected official. Generally,
however, voters do not have any direct way of holding elected representatives to
account during the term for which they have been elected. Additionally, some officials
and legislators may be appointed rather than elected. Constitution, or statute, can
empower a legislative body to hold their own members, the government, and
government bodies to account. This can be through holding an internal or independent
inquiry. Inquiries are usually held in response to an allegation of misconduct or
corruption. The powers, procedures and sanctions vary from country to country. The
legislature may have the power to impeach the individual, remove them, or suspend
them from office for a period of time. The accused person might also decide to resign
before trial. Impeachment in the United States has been used both for elected
representatives and other civil offices, such as district court judges.
In parliamentary systems, the government relies on the support or parliament, which
gives parliament power to hold the government to account. For example, some
parliaments can pass a vote of no confidence in the government.
Belsky et al. point out, whereas, under more democratic governance accountability is
built into the institution of the state by a habit of regular elections, accountability in
autocratic regimes relies on a selectorate; a group that legitimizes or delegitimizes the
autocrats powers according to selectorate theory. The primary mechanism at a
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selectorate's disposal is deposition, which is a form of exit. Beyond that institutions can
act as credible restraints on autocracy as well.
Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute found that empowering citizens in
developing countries to be able to hold their domestic governments to account was
incredibly complex in practice. However, by developing explicit processes that generate
change from individuals, groups or communities (Theories of Change), and by fusing
political economy analysis and outcome mapping tools, the complex state-citizen
dynamics can be better understood. As such, more effective ways to achieve outcomes
can hence be generated.
Researchers at the International Budget Partnership (IBP) found that civil society
organizations play an important role in achieving accountability outcomes. The IBP case
studies showed that CSOs can have an impact in a broad array of political and
economic contexts. The researchers concluded that CSOs are most effective when they
draw in a broad web of actors from across the accountability system, including the
media, auditors, donors, the legislature, executive insiders, and political parties.
Within an organization, the principles and practices of ethical accountability aim to
improve both the internal standard of individual and group conduct as well as external
factors, such as sustainable economic and ecologic strategies. Also, ethical
accountability plays a progressively important role in academic fields, such as
laboratory experiments and field research. Debates around the practice of ethical
accountability on the part of researchers in the social field – whether professional or
others – have been thoroughly explored by Norma R.A. Romm in her work on
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Accountability in Social Research, including her book on New Racism: Revisiting
Researcher Accountabilities, reviewed by Carole Truman in the journal Sociological
Research Online. Here it is suggested that researcher accountability implies that
researchers are cognizant of, and take some responsibility for, the potential impact of
their ways of doing research – and of writing it up – on the social fields of which the
research is part. That is, accountability is linked to considering carefully, and being open
to challenge in relation to, one's choices concerning how research agendas are framed
and the styles in which write-ups of research "results" are created.
Internal rules and norms as well as some independent commission are mechanisms to
hold civil servants within the administration of government accountable. Within
department or ministry, firstly, behavior is bound by rules and regulations; secondly, civil
servants are subordinates in a hierarchy and accountable to superiors. Nonetheless,
there are independent "watchdog" units to scrutinize and hold departments accountable;
legitimacy of these commissions is built upon their independence, as it avoids any
conflicts of interests. The accountability is defined as "an element which is part of a
unique responsibility and which represents an obligation of an actor to achieve the goal,
or to perform the procedure of a task, and the justification that it is done to someone
else, under threat of sanction".
The traceability of actions performed on a system to a specific system entity (user,
process, device). For example, the use of unique user identification and authentication
supports accountability; the use of shared user IDs and passwords destroys
Individuals Within Organizations
Because many different individuals in large organizations contribute in many ways to
the decisions and policies, it is difficult even in principle to identify who should be
accountable for the results. This is what is known, following Thompson, as the problem
of many hands. It creates a dilemma for accountability. If individuals are held
accountable or responsible, individuals who could not have prevented the results are
either unfairly punished, or they "take responsibility" in a symbolic ritual without suffering
any consequences. If only organizations are held accountable, then all individuals in the
organization are equally blameworthy or all are excused. Various solutions have been
proposed. One is to broaden the criteria for individual responsibility so that individuals
are held accountable for not anticipating failures in the organization. Another solution,
recently proposed by Thompson, is to hold individuals accountable for the design of the
organization, both retrospectively and prospectively.
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Within this perspective, a particular agency of the government is accountable if voices
are heard from agencies, groups or institutions outside the public sector representing
citizens' interests from a particular constituency or field. Moreover, the government is
obliged to empower members of agencies with political rights to run for elections and be
elected; or, appoint them into the public sector as a way to make the government
representative and to ensure that voices from all constituencies are included in policymaking.
With the increase over
the last several decades
in public service
provided by private
entities, especially in
Britain and the United
States, some have
called for increased
Legal scholar Anne
Davies, for instance,
argues that the line
institutions and private
entities like corporations
is becoming blurred in
certain areas of public
service in the United
Kingdom, and that this
can compromise political
accountability in those
areas. She and others
argue that some
reform is necessary to
With respect to the public/private overlap in the United States, public concern over the
contracting of government services (including military) and the resulting accountability
gap has been highlighted recently following the shooting incident involving the
Blackwater security firm in Iraq.
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Accountability involves either the expectation or assumption of account-giving behavior.
The study of account giving as a sociological act was articulated in a 1968 article on
"Accounts" by Marvin Scott and Stanford Lyman, although it can be traced as well to J.
L. Austin's 1956 essay "A Plea for Excuses", in which he used excuse-making as an
example of speech acts.
Communications scholars have extended this work through the examination of strategic
uses of excuses, justifications, rationalizations, apologies and other forms of account
giving behavior by individuals and corporations, and Philip Tetlock and his colleagues
have applied experimental design techniques to explore how individuals behave under
various scenarios and situations that demand accountability.
Recently, accountability has become an important topic in the discussion about the
legitimacy of international institutions. Because there is no global democratically elected
body to which organizations must account, global organizations from all sectors bodies
are often criticized as having large accountability gaps. The Charter 99 for Global
Democracy, spearheaded by the One World Trust, first proposed that cross-sector
principles of accountability be researched and observed by institutions that affect
people, independent of their legal status. One paradigmatic problem arising in the global
context is that of institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund who are founded and supported by wealthy nations or individuals and provide
grants and loans, to developing nations. Should those institutions be accountable to
their founders and investors or to the persons and nations they lend money to? In the
debate over global justice and its distributional consequences, Cosmopolitans tend to
advocate greater accountability to the disregarded interests of traditionally marginalized
populations and developing nations. On the other hand, those in the Nationalism and
Society of States traditions deny the tenets of moral universalism and argue that
beneficiaries of global development initiatives have no substantive entitlement to call
international institutions to account. The One World Trust Global Accountability Report,
published in a first full cycle 2006 to 2008, is one attempt to measure the capability of
global organizations to be accountable to their stakeholders.
Accountability In Education
Student accountability is traditionally based on hang school and classroom rules,
combined with sanctions for infringement. As defined by National Council on
Measurement in Education (NCME), accountability is "A program, often legislated, that
attributes the responsibility for student learning to teachers, school administrators,
and/or students. Test results typically are used to judge accountability, and often
consequences are imposed for shortcomings."
In contrast, some educational establishments such as Sudbury schools believe that
students are personally responsible for their acts, and that traditional schools do not
permit students to choose their course of action fully; they do not permit students to
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embark on the course, once chosen; and they do not permit students to suffer the
consequences of the course, once taken. Freedom of choice, freedom of action,
freedom to bear the results of action are considered the three great freedoms that
constitute personal responsibility. Sudbury schools claim that "'Ethics' is a course taught
by life experience". They adduce that the essential ingredient for acquiring values—and
for moral action is personal responsibility, that schools will become involved in the
teaching of morals when they become communities of people who fully respect each
other's right to make choices, and that the only way the schools can become meaningful
purveyors of ethical values is if they provide students and adults with real-life
experiences that are bearers of moral import. Students are given complete responsibility
for their own education and the school is run by a direct democracy in which students
and staff are equals.
Media and Accountability
Econometric research has found that countries with greater press freedom tend to have
less corruption. Greater political accountability and lower corruption were more likely
where newspaper consumption was higher in data from roughly 100 countries and from
different states in the US. A "poor fit between newspaper markets and political districts
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educes press coverage of politics. ... Congressmen who are less covered by the local
press work less for their constituencies: they are less likely to stand witness before
congressional hearings ... . Federal spending is lower in areas where there is less press
coverage of the local members of congress." This was supported by an analysis of the
consequences of the closure of the Cincinnati Post in 2007. The following year, "fewer
candidates ran for municipal office in the Kentucky suburbs most reliant on the Post,
incumbents became more likely to win reelection, and voter turnout and campaign
An analysis of the evolution of mass media in the US and Europe since World War II
noted mixed results from the growth of the Internet: "The digital revolution has been
good for freedom of expression [and] information [but] has had mixed effects on
freedom of the press": It has disrupted traditional sources of funding, and new forms of
Internet journalism have replaced only a tiny fraction of what's been lost. Various
systems have been proposed for increasing the funds available for investigative
journalism that allow individual citizens to direct small amounts of government funds to
news outlets or investigative journalism projects of their choice.
To train people to conduct these kinds of investigations, Charles Lewis has proposed
"the creation of a new multidisciplinary academic field called Accountability Studies. ...
[S]tudents from widely different academic backgrounds are excited about the prospect
of learning exactly how to investigate those in power and hold them accountable."
Accountability standards have been set up, and organizations can voluntarily commit to
them. Standards apply in particular to the non-profit world and to Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Accountability standards include:
INGO Accountability Charter, signed by a large number of NGOs to "demonstrate
their commitment to accountability and transparency"
AccountAbility's AA1000 series. "principles-based standards to help
organisations become more accountable, responsible and sustainable. They
address issues affecting governance, business models and organizational
strategy, as well as providing operational guidance on sustainability assurance
and stakeholder engagement"
Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) 2010 standards. A standard for
humanitarian organizations to help them "design, implement, assess, improve
and recognize accountable programs"
In addition, some non-profit organizations set up their own commitments to
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Accountability, Learning and Planning System (ALPS) by ActionAid, a framework
that sets out the key accountability requirements, guidelines, and processes.
Viktor Frankl, neurologist, psychiatrist, author, and founder of logotherapy and one of
the key figures in existential therapy, in his book Man's Search for Meaning
recommended "that the
Statue of Liberty on the
East Coast (that has
become a symbol of
Liberty and Freedom)
should be supplemented
by a Statue of
Responsibility on the
West Coast." Frankl
however, is not the last
word. Freedom is only
part of the story and half
of the truth. Freedom is
but the negative aspect of
the whole phenomenon
whose positive aspect is
responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness
unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness."
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II. Good Governance
Good Governance is an indeterminate term used in the international
development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and
manage public resources. Governance is "the process of decision-making and the
process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)". The term
governance can apply to corporate, international, national, local governance or to the
interactions between other sectors of society.
The concept of "good governance"
of ten emerges as a model to
compare ineffective economies or political bodies
with viable economies and political bodies.  The
concept centers on the responsibility of
governments and governing bodies to
meet the needs of the
masses as opposed
to select groups in society. Because
countries often described as "most
successful" are Western liberal
concentrated in Europe and
other state institutions
organizations and the
authorities of developed
countries often will focus the
meaning of "good
governance" to a
set of requirements
that conform to the
organization's agenda, making "good governance" imply
many different things in many different contexts.
Distinction from Other Related Concepts
It is important to distinguish good governance from other concepts that look similar,
such as development and economic growth. Instead of considering them as equal,
many scholars refer to them as features that are likely to be related in different ways. In
fact, the importance that authors give to good governance, is due to the impact it may
have on development and economic growth.
According to Grindle (2004), the relevance of getting good governance comes precisely
from its relationship with the development of a country and the reduction of poverty.
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Setting an agenda for reaching good governance is of the huge interest but also a
complex task, which makes this author to propose rather a “good enough governance”
agenda as a starting point. In the construction of this "simpler" agenda, the idea is to
revisit policies that have worked in the past, set priorities in a strategically way, consider
policies with greater impact in alleviating poverty and reaching development, and look
for innovative ways of implementing such policies.
In terms of economic growth, there are several authors relating that variable with good
governance, but in the sense of “being related to” instead of “being part of”. In other
words, scholars have been intrigued by the relationship between good governance and
economic or political development. Grindle (2007) mentions there are many relations to
be found between indicators of good governance and economic growth, however those
associations are difficult to measure and even harder to be attributed as causal.
Nevertheless, she mentions the work of Kauffman (2002), who found a causal and
positive relationship between different dimensions of good governance and the GDP per
capita in the long run, i.e. good governance makes development possible.
These dimensions are how the government is elected and oversighted, the
accountability power of citizens, the credibility in the government, the respect for
institutions, both from government and citizens, and the effective delivery of public
goods. He found that the relation between these two variables does not hold in the
reverse direction, meaning that higher levels of economic growth do not lead to better
governance. For example, Quain (2003) points out that China and Vietnam are frequent
examples of countries that have made remarkable leaps in economic development and
poverty reduction, but nevertheless retain many characteristics of poor governance.
In International Affairs (IR)
In international affairs, analysis of good governance can look at any of the following
between governments and markets
between governments and citizens
between governments and the private or voluntary sector
between elected officials and appointed officials
between government and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)
The varying types of comparisons comprising the analysis of governance in scholastic
and practical discussion can cause the meaning of "good governance" to vary greatly
from practitioner to practitioner.
In Corporate Sectors
In corporate affairs, good governance can be observed in any of the following
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etween governance and corporate management
between governance and employee standards
between governance and corruption in the workplace
The meaning of good governance in regards to corporate sectors varies between
actors. Legislation has been enacted in an attempt to influence good governance in
corporate affairs. In the United States, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 set up
requirements for businesses to follow. Whistleblowing has also been widely used by
corporations to expose corruption and fraudulent activity.
In National Governments
Good governance in the context of countries is a broad term, and in that regards, it is
difficult to find a unique definition. According to Fukuyama (2013), there are two
dimensions to qualify governance as good or bad: the capacity of the state and the
They both complement, in the sense that when the state is more capable, for instance
through the collection of taxes, there should be more autonomy because the
bureaucrats are able to conduct things well without being instructed with a lot of details.
In less capable states, however, less discretion and more rules setting are desirable.
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Another way to think about good governance is through outcomes. Since governments
carry out with goals like the provision of public goods to its citizens, there is no better
way to think about good governance other than through deliverables, which are
precisely the one demanded by citizens, like security, health, education, water, the
enforcement of contracts, protection to property, protection to the environment and their
ability to vote and get paid fair wages.
Similarly, good governance might be approximated with provision of public services in
an efficient manner, higher participation given to certain groups in the population like the
poor and the minorities, the guarantee that citizens have the opportunity of checks and
balances on the government, the establishment and enforcement of norms for the
protection of the citizens and their property and the existence of independent judiciary
Lawson (2011) in his review of Rothstein's book “The quality of government: corruption,
social trust, and inequality in international perspective” mentions that the author relates
good governance to the concept of impartiality, which is basically when the bureaucrats
perform their tasks following the public interest rather than their self-interest. Lawson
differs with him in that this impartial application of law ignores important factors like the
economic liberalism, which matters due to its relation with economic growth.
In Local Governments
Good governance is argued to be the most important in local governments. It tries to
promote more relationships between government and
Good governance with local government aims to increase civil engagement with more
members of the community in order to get the best options that serves the people.
In Scientific Exploration
Before there can be scientific experimentation, organizations must be compliant with
good governance, meaning that testing must be moral and practical. Many research
organizations such as SPICE (Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering),
a geoengineering research project that was formed in the U.K., was required to go
through stages of evaluation before testing could be conducted if they were to be
funded by stakeholders. In 2011 SPICE made plans to experiment with solar radiation.
The method for this experiment included injecting stratospheric sulfur aerosols into the
The criteria or "stage-gate" that they must pass before performing their experiment
included the following; identify safe and principle risks, test must be compliant with
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elevant regulations, future applications and impacts, and mechanisms put in place to
review these in the light of new information, and that the stakeholders must be regarded
and taken into account. Before research can be conducted in the field of
geoengineering it must be scrutinized using good governance to ensure testing isn't
harmful to the environment and to detail all the possible risks that may occur.
Reform and Standards
Three institutions can be reformed to promote good governance: the state, the private
sector and civil society. However, among different cultures, the need and demand for
reform can vary depending on the priorities of that country's society. A variety of country
level initiatives and international movements put emphasis on various types of
governance reform. Each movement for reform establishes criteria for what they
consider good governance based on their own needs and agendas. The following are
examples of good governance standards for prominent organizations in the international
United Nations (UN)
The United Nations is playing an increasing role in good governance. According to
former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "Good governance is ensuring respect for
human rights and the rule of law; strengthening democracy; promoting transparency
and capacity in public administration." To implement this, the UN follows eight
Participation - People should be able to voice their own opinions through
legitimate immediate organizations or representatives.
Rule of Law - Legal framework should be enforced impartially, especially on
human right laws.
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Consensus Oriented - Mediates differing interests to meet the broad consensus
on the best interests of a community.
Equity and Inclusiveness - People should have opportunities to improve or
maintain their well-being.
Effectiveness and Efficiency - Processes and institutions should be able to
produce results that meet the needs of their community while making the best of
Accountability - Governmental institutions, private sectors, and civil society
organizations should be held accountable to the public and institutional
Transparency - Information should be accessible to the public and should be
understandable and monitored.
Responsiveness - Institutions and processes should serve all stakeholders.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was created at a United Nations (UN)
conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. In 1996, the IMF declared "promoting
good governance in all its aspects, including by ensuring the rule of law, improving the
efficiency and accountability of the public sector, and tackling corruption, as essential
elements of a framework within which economies can prosper". The IMF feels that
corruption within economies is caused by the ineffective governance of the economy,
either too much regulation or too little regulation.  To receive loans from the IMF,
countries must have certain good governance policies, as determined by the IMF, in
The World Bank is concerned with the reform of economic and social resource control.
In 1992, it underlined three aspects of society that they feel affect the nature of a
1. type of political regime;
2. process by which authority is exercised in the management of the economic and
social resources, with a view to development; and
3. capacity of governments to formulate policies and have them effectively
Worldwide Governance Indicators
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The Worldwide Governance Indicators is a program funded by the World Bank to
measure the quality of governance of over 200 countries. It uses six dimensions of
governance for their measurements, Voice & Accountability, Political Stability and Lack
of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of
Corruption. They have been studying countries since 1996.
International Humanitarian Funding
Good governance defines an ideal that is difficult to achieve in full, though it is
something development supporters consider donating to causes.  Major donors and
international financial institutions, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World
Bank, are basing their aid and loans on the condition that the recipient undertake
reforms ensuring good governance. This is mostly due to the close link between poor
governance and corruption.
Because concepts such as civil society, decentralisation, peaceful conflict management
and accountability are often used when defining the concept of good governance, the
definition of good governance promotes many ideas that closely align with effective
democratic governance. Not surprisingly, emphasis on good governance can
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sometimes be equated with promoting democratic government. However, a 2011
literature review analyzing the link between democracy and development by Alina
Rocha Menocal of the Overseas Development Institute stresses the inconclusiveness of
evidence on this relationship.
A good example of this close association, for some actors, between western democratic
governance and the concept of good governance is the following statement made by
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Nigeria on August 12, 2009:
Again, to refer to President Obama's speech, what Africa needs is not more strong men,
it needs more strong democratic institutions that will stand the test of time. (Applause.)
Without good governance, no amount of oil or no amount of aid, no amount of effort can
guarantee Nigeria's success. But with good governance, nothing can stop Nigeria. It's
the same message that I have carried in all of my meetings, including my meeting this
afternoon with your president. The United States supports the seven-point agenda for
reform that was outlined by President Yar'Adua. We believe that delivering on roads and
on electricity and on education and all the other points of that agenda will demonstrate
the kind of concrete progress that the people of Nigeria are waiting for.
Role of Political Parties
Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute have criticised past studies of good
governance to place too little importance on developing political parties, their capacity
and their ties to their grassroots supporters. While political parties play a key role in
well-functioning democracies, elsewhere political parties are disconnected from voters
and dominated by elites, with few incentives or capabilities to increase the
representation of other voters. Political parties can play a key role in pivotal moments of
a state's development, either negatively (e.g. organising and instigating violence) or
positively (e.g. by leading dialogue in a fractured society). While differences in the
electoral system play their role in defining the number of parties and their influence once
in power (proportional, first past the post, etc.), the funding and expertise available to
parties also plays an important role not only in their existence, but their ability to connect
to a broad base of support. While the United Nations Development Program and the
European Commission have been providing funds to political parties since the 1990s,
there are still calls to increase the support for capacity development activities including
the development of party manifestos, party constitutions and campaigning skills.
Nayef Al-Rodhan, in his 2009 book Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man: A
Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph, proposed eight minimum criteria for
ensuring good national governance. Al-Rodhan's eight minimum criteria are: 1)
participation, equity, and inclusiveness, 2) rule of law, 3) separation of powers, 4) free,
independent, and responsible media, 5) government legitimacy, 6) accountability, 7)
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transparency, and 8) limiting the distorting effect of money in politics. In the book, he
argues that good national governance is an important component in creating a history of
sustainability for the human race. For Al-Rodhan, the eight minimal criteria of good
governance are expressions of the fundamental values of democracy and more liberal
The Tuskegee Study from 1932 to 1972 led to the signing of the National Research Act.
This law outlined basic ethical ways in which research is to be carried out. The
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW) made regulations that required
voluntary agreements for anyone who was to take part in their studies. Governance is
used in scientific studies to ensure that policies are safe and ethical when studies are
being done on human subjects.
After the National Research Act there have been other organization put in place such as
the Ethics Advisory Board, which reviews biomedical research. Many federal agencies
adopted the Federal Policy for Protection of Human Rights in 1991. In 1995 President
Bill Clinton established the National Bioethics Advisory Commission led by the
Department of Health and Human Services with the task of reviewing regulations and
policies to ensure the safety of research volunteers.
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According to Sam Agere, "The discretionary space left by the lack of a clear welldefined
scope for what governance encompasses allows users to choose and set their
In the book Contesting 'good' governance, Eva Poluha and Mona Rosendahl contest
standards that are common to western democracy as measures of "goodness" in
government. By applying political anthropological methods, they conclude that while
governments believe they apply concepts of good governance while making decisions,
cultural differences can cause conflict with the heterogeneous standards of the
An additional source of good governance criticism is The Intelligent Person's Guide to
Good Governance, written by Surendra Munshi. Munshi's work was created in order to
"revive" good governance. Many individuals tend to either wave away and be bored with
the idea of governance, or not have a clue to what it has at all. This book is a
generalized discussion on what the purpose of good governance is and how it serves
that purpose throughout our society. Munshi targets the book toward anyone doing
research or just simply "those concerned with the issue of governance".
Rethinking Systems: Configurations of Politics and Policy in Contemporary Governance,
written by Michael P. Crozier, is another work analyzing good governance. Crozier's
article discusses the different dynamics of changes that occur throughout
communication systems and the effect it has on governance. The idea of various
perspectives is presented throughout the article. This allows the reader to be able to
see what contemporary governance is like from different viewpoints. Crozier's motive
was to also create an open mindset when referring to how governance and policy within
society operate, especially with the constant changes occurring day to day.
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III. Due Diligence
Due Diligence is an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a
contract, or an act with a certain standard of care.
It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary
investigations. A common example of due diligence in various industries is the process
through which a potential acquirer evaluates a target company or its assets for an
acquisition. The theory behind due diligence holds that performing this type of
investigation contributes significantly to informed decision making by enhancing the
amount and quality of information available to decision makers and by ensuring that this
information is systematically used to deliberate in a reflexive manner on the decision at
hand and all its costs, benefits, and risks.
The term “due diligence” means "required carefulness" or "reasonable care" in general
usage, and has been used in this sense since at least the mid-fifteenth century. It
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ecame a specialized legal term and later a common business term due to the United
States’ Securities Act of 1933, where the process is called "reasonable investigation"
(section 11b3). This Act included a defense at Section 11, referred to later in legal
usage as the “due diligence” defense, which could be used by broker-dealers when
accused of inadequate disclosure to investors of material information with respect to the
purchase of securities. In legal and business use, the term was soon used for the
process itself instead of how it was to be performed, so that the original expressions
such as "exercise due diligence in investigating" and "investigation carried out with due
diligence" were soon shortened to "due diligence investigation" and finally "due
As long as broker-dealers exercised “due diligence” (required carefulness) in their
investigation into the company whose equity they were selling and as long as they
disclosed to the investor what they found, they would not be held liable for nondisclosure
of information that was not discovered in the process of that investigation.
The broker-dealer community quickly institutionalized, as a standard practice, the
conducting of due diligence investigations of any stock offerings in which they involved
themselves. Originally the term was limited to public offerings of equity investments, but
over time it has come to be associated with investigations of private mergers and
acquisitions as well.
Business Transactions and Corporate Finance
Due diligence takes different forms depending on its purpose:
1. The examination of a potential target for merger, acquisition, privatization, or
similar corporate finance transaction normally by a buyer. (This can include self
due diligence or “reverse due diligence”, i.e. an assessment of a company,
usually by a third party on behalf of the company, prior to taking the company to
2. A reasonable investigation focusing on material future matters.
3. An examination being achieved by asking certain key questions, including, how
do we buy, how do we structure an acquisition, and how much do we pay?
4. An investigation of current practices of process and policies.
5. An examination aiming to make an acquisition decision via the principles of
valuation and shareholder value analysis.
The due diligence process (framework) can be divided into nine distinct areas: 
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1. Compatibility audit.
2. Financial audit.
3. Macro-environment audit.
4. Legal/environmental audit.
5. Marketing audit.
6. Production audit.
7. Management audit.
8. Information systems audit.
9. Reconciliation audit.
It is essential that the concepts of valuations (shareholder value analysis) be linked into
a due diligence process. This is in order to reduce the number of failed mergers and
In this regard, two new audit areas have been incorporated into the Due Diligence
the Compatibility Audit which deals with the strategic components of the
transaction and in particular the need to add shareholder value and
the Reconciliation audit, which links/consolidates other audit areas together via a
formal valuation in order to test whether shareholder value will be added.
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The relevant areas of concern may include the financial, legal, labor, tax, IT,
environment and market/commercial situation of the company. Other areas include
intellectual property, real and personal property, insurance and liability coverage, debt
instrument review, employee benefits (including the Affordable Care Act) and labor
matters, immigration, and international transactions. Areas of focus in due diligence
continue to develop with cybersecurity emerging as an area of concern for business
acquirers. Due diligence findings impact a number of aspects of the transaction
including the purchase price, the representations and warranties negotiated in the
transaction agreement, and the indemnification provided by the sellers.
Due Diligence has emerged as a separate profession for accounting and auditing
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
With the number and size of penalties increasing, the United States' Foreign Corrupt
Practices Act (FCPA) has caused many U.S. institutions to look into how they evaluate
all of their relationships overseas. The lack of a due diligence of a company’s agents,
vendors, and suppliers, as well as merger and acquisition partners in foreign countries
could lead to doing business with an organization linked to a foreign official or state
owned enterprises and their executives.
This link could be perceived as leading to the bribing of the foreign officials and as a
result lead to noncompliance with the FCPA. Due diligence in regard to FCPA
compliance is required in two aspects:
1. Initial due diligence – this step is necessary in evaluating what risk is involved in
doing business with an entity prior to establishing a relationship and assesses
risk at that point in time.
2. Ongoing due diligence – this is the process of periodically evaluating each
relationship overseas to find links between current business relationships
overseas and ties to a foreign official or illicit activities linked to corruption. This
process will be performed indefinitely as long as a relationship exists, and usually
involves comparing the companies and executives to a database of foreign
officials. This process should be performed on all relationships regardless of
location and is often part of a wider Integrity Management initiative .
In the M&A context, buyers can use the due diligence phase to integrate a target into
their internal FCPA controls, focusing initial efforts on necessary revisions to the target's
business activities with a high-risk of corruption.
While financial institutions are among the most aggressive in defining FCPA best
practices, manufacturing, retailing and energy industries are highly active in managing
FCPA compliance programs.
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Passed on May 25, 2011, the OECD member countries agreed to revise their guidelines
promoting tougher standards of corporate behavior, including human rights. As part of
this new definition, they utilized a new aspect of due diligence that requires a
corporation to investigate third party partners for potential abuse of human rights.
In the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises document, it is stated that all
members will “Seek ways to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are
directly linked to their business operations, products or services by a business
relationship, even if they do not contribute to those impacts”.
The term was originally put forth by UN Special Representative for Human Rights and
Business John Ruggie, who uses it as an umbrella to cover the steps and processes by
which a company understands, monitors and mitigates its human rights impacts. Human
Rights Impact Assessment is a component of this.
The UN formalized guidelines for Human Rights Due Diligence on June 16 with the
endorsement of Ruggie’s Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Due diligence in civil procedure is the idea that reasonable investigation is necessary
before certain kinds of relief are requested.
For example, duly diligent efforts to locate and/or serve a party with civil process is
frequently a requirement for a party seeking to use means other than personal service
to obtain jurisdiction over a party. Similarly, in areas of the law such as bankruptcy, an
attorney representing someone filing a bankruptcy petition must engage in due diligence
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to determine that the representations made in the bankruptcy petition are factually
accurate. Due diligence is also generally prerequisite to a request for relief in states
where civil litigants are permitted to conduct pre-litigation discovery of facts necessary
to determine whether or not a party has a factual basis for a cause of action.
In civil actions seeking a foreclosure or seizure of property, a party requesting this relief
is frequently required to engage in due diligence to determine who may claim an interest
in the property by reviewing public records concerning the property and sometimes by a
physical inspection of the property that would reveal a possible interest in the property
of a tenant or other person.
Due diligence is also a concept found in the civil litigation concept of a statute of
limitations. Frequently, a statute of limitations begins to run against a plaintiff when that
plaintiff knew or should have known had that plaintiff investigated the matter with due
diligence that the plaintiff had a claim against a defendant. In this context, the term “due
diligence” determines the scope of a party’s constructive knowledge, upon receiving
notice of facts sufficient to constitute “inquiry notice” that alerts a would-be plaintiff that
further investigation might reveal a cause of action.
In criminal law, due diligence is the only available defense to a crime that is one of strict
liability (i.e., a crime that only requires an actus reus and no mens rea). Once the
criminal offence is proven, the defendant must prove on balance that they did
everything possible to prevent the act from happening. It is not enough that they took
the normal standard of care in their industry – they must show that they took every
Due diligence is also used in criminal law to describe the scope of the duty of a
prosecutor, to take efforts to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence, to (accused)
In criminal law, “due diligence” also identifies the standard a prosecuting entity must
satisfy in pursuing an action against a defendant, especially with regard to the provision
of the Federal and State Constitutional and statutory right to a speedy trial or to have a
warrant or detainer served in an action. In cases where a defendant is in any type of
custodial situation where their freedom is constrained, it is solely the prosecuting
entities duty to ensure the provision of such rights and present the citizen before the
court with jurisdiction. This also applies where the respective judicial system and/or
prosecuting entity has current address or contact information on the named party and
said party has made no attempt to evade notice of the prosecution of the action.
Due Diligence Defense
In the United Kingdom, "proper use of a due diligence system" may be used as a
defence against a charge of breach of regulations e.g. under the Timber and Timber
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Products (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2013 and the Environmental Protection
(Microbeads) (England) Regulations 2017, businesses may be able to defend a charge
of non-compliance with regulations if they can show that they have undertaken supplier
due diligence to a necessary standard.
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IV. Integrity Management
Integrity Management Consulting is an emerging sector
of consultancy that advises individuals and corporations on how to apply the highest
ethical standards to every aspect of their business. Integrity within a corporate set up is
a holistic approach that
makes prudent and ethical
decisions not only
relating to finance but
other areas as well,
human resources as well
as manufacturing by
adhering to the highest
standards of product quality,
open and clear communication
and transparency in all
operations as well as
relationships. At the core of
integrity management is the belief
that companies have a strong
interest, as well as a responsibility,
to act with integrity at all times.
This field arose in response to:
more likely to succeed
when they act with integrity; and
that companies are
(b) increased awareness by company directors of the need to seek
expert advice to help them align and incorporate high ethical
standards with business strategy and integrate them across all
In recent years, the general public have become both better informed and more
concerned about business ethics at home and in developing countries. As a result
governments have been called on to legislate, and business leaders to innovate, to
ensure that high ethical standards are put at the heart of business and industry. There
have been numerous regulations and ethical compliance measures to monitor financial
performance of the organization. To complement these regulations and to present a
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fully dimensional ethical view of the organization from within, companies adopt different
models such as Six Sigma, the Balanced Scorecard and the Triple Bottom Line.
The field of integrity management consulting aims to address:
1. The demand for companies to respond to increasing awareness of ethical
misconduct and resulting expectations for transparency and accountability;
2. The requirement for companies to comply with a stricter legal framework and
avoid prosecution for unethical behavior; and,
3. The desire for executives to make their enterprises leaders in responsible
and sustainable development.
Increased Public Awareness and Expectations
Media attention given to ethical lapses means that companies are increasingly being
held responsible for unethical behavior including corruption, labor issues and the poor
working conditions in their own operations, in those of their subsidiaries, as well as for
the actions of subcontractors acting on their behalf. An early example of the demand for
responsibility starting to take hold was in the early 1990's when the reputation of a major
footwear corporation was severely damaged, the brand devalued, and the company
subjected to consumer boycotts after the discovery of the supplier’s poor labor
standards. Child labor watchdogs found children as young as 10 working for Nike
making shoes, clothing and footballs in Pakistan and Cambodia.
Appalling workplace conditions have existed for centuries. However, the media has now
made ethical transgressions readily public. In fact, according to a briefing by
the Institute of Business Ethics, in 2009 there were 25 media stories on corporate
ethical lapses in the extractive industries alone. Reported issues for this sector included
environmental matters and allegations of human rights abuses in emerging markets, as
well as accusations that oil companies were dumping toxic material in West Africa. The
briefing also highlighted the amount of negative media attention given to the wider retail
sector in 2009. Numerous stories exposed unethical practices, such as
exploiting sweatshop labor, and accused some retailers of posing a danger to
indigenous communities in Africa.
The impact of such negative exposure can include:
damaged corporate reputations and brand devaluation
lower employee moral
loss of market share
negative perceptions on behalf of investors
legal action and
fines and in some jurisdictions jail terms for directors.
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According to Transparency International (TI), which investigates business corruption
across the globe, ` and corruption were partly to blame for the recent global economic
crisis of 2007-2008. The conditions cited included: serious lapses in corporate due
diligence, governance and integrity; poor transparency and accountability; and,
inadequate corporate integrity systems. The worldwide recession has furthered the
public’s demand for businesses to behave responsibly.
More Stringent Legal Requirements
Stricter legal frameworks have made it easier to prosecute transgressors and new
international initiatives are helping countries to work in collaboration to deter poor
The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (officially OECD Convention on Combating Bribery
of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions) is a convention of the
OECD, ratified by 41 countries and aimed at reducing corruption in developing countries
by encouraging sanctions against bribery in international business transactions carried
out by companies based in member countries. Countries that have signed the
Convention are required to put in place legislation that criminalizes the act of bribing a
foreign public official. Much of the legislation passed by member countries has
One such example is the Bribery Act 2010 which was enacted into law on 8 April and
defines three discrete criminal offences: offering or paying a bribe; requesting or
receiving a bribe; bribing a foreign public official. (A specific offence required to comply
with the OECD Convention mentioned above); and a new corporate offence of failing to
prevent bribery being undertaken on its behalf. The Act applies to UK companies, UK
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partnerships, UK citizens and individuals ordinarily resident in the UK, regardless of
where the relevant act occurs. They also apply to non-UK nationals, companies, and
partnerships if an act or omission forming part of the offence takes place within the UK.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977(FCPA)(15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq.) is a
United States federal law with international reach which also targets unethical behavior.
The Act is known primarily for two of its main provisions: one that addresses accounting
transparency requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934(SEC); and,
another concerning bribery of foreign officials. The FCPA applies to individuals and
businesses with securities registered in the United States or a principal place of
business in the United States. While this Act has been in existence for quite some time,
the SEC and the DOJ have recently increased their enforcement efforts.
A well-known example of a company prosecuted under the FCPA is German car maker,
Daimler, which agreed to pay US $185 million in fines to the US government over
alleged bribes paid to secure contracts abroad. BAE Systems PLC, a UK-based
defense contractor also agreed to pay a US $400 million fine in FCPA related
enforcement action.There are numerous other examples.In existence for around 40
years now, the FCPA is a very powerful tool in the hands of US DOJ and SEC which
they use as a weapon of recovery of billions of dollars from foreign corporations
worldwide over which US authorities have little jurisdiction.
Most recently, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (also
known as the Financial Reform Act) signed into U.S. law by President Barack
Obama on July 21, 2010 contains a clause that specifically requires companies with
products containing cassiterite (tin ore), columbite-tantalite (coltan), wolframite, and gold
to disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whether the minerals are
sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo or adjoining countries. Companies will
have to detail the measures they have taken to avoid sourcing the minerals from
Congolese armed groups, which are guilty of massacres and other atrocities. The bill
also requires that all information disclosed be independently audited.
This legislation underpins some of the reasons businesses are taking integrity seriously
and enlisting integrity management consultancies. Many businesses leaders have
realized that early adopters of strong corporate ethics will thrive, as did those quick to
embrace the environmental agenda in recent years. Consumers and shareholders are
increasingly ready to recognize the value of corporate responsibility in international
business. Increasingly, responsibility and sustainable value are intertwined.
Role of Consultancies
In response, the field of integrity management has been born to help clients conduct
business, even in the most challenging of markets, without compromising their ethics.
With the help of expert advice, companies can go beyond abiding by the law to taking a
voluntary, proactive approach to ensuring a company’s activities promote behaving
responsibly, with fairness, sustainability, and cultural sensitivity in the communities in
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which they operate. It is very different in this respect from the more reactive field of risk
management, although some risk management companies have attempted to embrace
ethical risk as an area of specialism. Many risk management consultancies are adjuncts
to private security companies. Therefore, some would-be clients are not convinced that
they are best-placed to assist in the area of integrity and ethical management, because
their parent companies face reputational challenges themselves.
Specialist integrity management consultancy helps business leaders not only to avoid
business practices that represent risk to an industry or economy, but also helps to bring
such practices under scrutiny so that they can be brought to a quick end.
The practice of integrity management consultancy combines numerous disciplines
including established Knowledge Acquisition Methodologies, Public Relations Practices,
Business Risk Management techniques, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),
Compliance functions, Insider Threat detection and Financial expertise to help clients
make responsible and ethical business decisions.
Integrity management consultancies offer services such as: Identifying potential
reputational and ethical threats for clients, and developing practical recommendations to
mitigate these threats; making recommendations for, and carrying out due diligence on,
local professional service suppliers; providing advice on accessing a local pool of talent,
and addressing cultural considerations for building an effective local workforce;
conducting detailed investigations into proposed local partners and key employees;
preparing community needs reviews for better targeting of CSR programmes; and,
administering anti-and counter-corruption training. Many also offer general ethics audits
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so that companies can obtain independent verification to attest to the high standard of
their corporate ethics. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list as each consultancy
offers different services.
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Euthenics /juːˈθɛnɪks/ is the study of the improvement of human functioning
and well-being by improvement of living conditions. Affecting the "improvement" through
altering external factors such as education and the controllable environment, including
the prevention and removal of contagious disease and parasites, environmentalism,
education regarding employment, home economics, sanitation, and housing.
Rose Field notes of the
definition in a May 23,
1926 New York
Times article, "the simplest
being efficient living". A
right to environment.
The Flynn effect has been
often cited as an example
of euthenics. Another
example is the steady
increase in body size in
since the beginning of the
Euthenics is not normally
interpreted to have anything to do with changing the composition of the human gene
pool by definition, although everything that affects society has some effect on who
reproduces and who does not.
Origin of The Term
The term was derived in the late 19th century from the Greek verb eutheneo, εὐθηνέω
(eu, well; the, root of τίθημι tithemi, to cause).
(To be in a flourishing state, to abound in, to prosper.—Demosthenes. To be strong or
vigorous.—Herodotus. To be vigorous in body.—Aristotle.)
Also from the Greek Euthenia, Εὐθηνία. Good state of the body: prosperity, good
The opposite of Euthenia is Penia, Πενία ("deficiency" or "poverty") the personification
of poverty and need.
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Ellen H. Swallow Richards (1842–1911; Vassar Class of '70) was one of the first writers
to use the term, in The Cost of Shelter (1905), with the meaning "the science of better
living". It is unclear if (and probably unlikely that) any of the study programs of euthenics
ever completely embraced Richards' multidisciplinary concept, though several nuances
remain today, especially that of interdisciplinarity.
Vassar College Institute of Euthenics
After Richards' death in 1911, Julia Lathrop (1858–1932; VC '80)—one of Vassar's most
distinguished alumnae—continued to promote the development of an interdisciplinary
program in euthenics at the college. Lathrop soon teamed with alumna Minnie Cumnock
Blodgett (1862–1931; VC '84), who with her husband, John Wood Blodgett, offered
financial support to create a program of euthenics at Vassar College. Curriculum
planning, suggested by Vassar president Henry Noble MacCracken in 1922, began in
earnest by 1923, under the direction of Professor Annie Louise Macleod (Chemistry;
First woman PhD, McGill University, 1910).
According to Vassar's chronology entry for March 17, 1924, "the faculty recognized
euthenics as a satisfactory field for sequential study (major). A Division of Euthenics
was authorized to offer a multidisciplinary program [radical at the time] focusing the
techniques and disciplines of the arts, sciences and social sciences on the life
experiences and relationships of women. Students in euthenics could take courses in
horticulture, food chemistry, sociology and statistics, education, child study, economics,
economic geography, physiology, hygiene, public health, psychology and domestic
architecture and furniture. With the new division came the first major in child study at an
American liberal arts college."
For example, a typical major in child study in euthenics includes introductory
psychology, laboratory psychology, applied psychology, child study and social
psychology in the Department of Psychology; the three courses offered in the
Department of Child Study; beginning economics, programs of social reorganization and
the family in Economics; and in the Department of Physiology, human physiology, child
hygiene, principles of public health.
The Vassar Summer Institute of Euthenics accepted its first students in June 1926.
Created to supplement the controversial euthenics major which began February 21,
1925, it was also located in the new Minnie Cumnock Blodgett Hall of Euthenics (York &
Sawyer, architects; ground broke October 25, 1925). Some Vassar faculty members
(perhaps emotionally upset with being displaced on campus to make way, or otherwise
politically motivated) contentiously "believed the entire concept of euthenics was vague
and counter-productive to women's progress."
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Having overcome a lukewarm reception, Vassar College officially opened its Minnie
Cumnock Blodgett Hall of Euthenics in 1929. Dr. Ruth Wheeler (Physiology and
Nutrition – VC '99) took over as director of euthenics studies in 1924. Wheeler remained
director until Mary Shattuck Fisher Langmuir (VC '20) succeeded her in 1944, until
The college continued for the 1934–35 academic year its successful cooperative
housing experiment in three residence halls. Intended to help students meet their
college costs by working in their residences. For example, in Main, students earned $40
a year by doing relatively light work such as cleaning their rooms.
In 1951, Katharine Blodgett Hadley (VC '20) donated $400,000, through the Rubicon
Foundation, to Vassar to help fund operating deficits in the current and succeeding
years and to improve faculty salaries.
"Discontinued for financial reasons, the Vassar Summer Institute for Family and
Community Living, founded in 1926 as the Vassar Summer Institute of Euthenics, held
its last session, July 2, 1958. This was the first and last session for the institute's new
director, Dr. Mervin Freedman."
Elmira College is noted as the oldest college still in existence which (as a college for
women) granted degrees to women which were the equivalent of those given to men
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(the first to do so was the now-defunct Mary Sharp College). Elmira College became
coeducational in all of its programs in 1969.
A special article was written in the December 12, 1937 New York Times, quoting recent
graduates of Elmira College, urging for courses in colleges for men on the care of
children. Reporting that "preparation for the greatest of all professions, that of
motherhood and child-training, is being given the students at Elmira College in the
Nursery School which is Conducted as part of the Department of Euthenics."
Elmira College was one of the first of the liberal arts colleges to recognize the fact that
women should have some special training, integrated with the so-called liberal studies,
which would prepare them to carry on, with less effort and fewer mistakes, a successful
family life. Courses in nutrition, household economics, clothing selection, principles of
foods and meal planning, child psychology, and education in family relations are a part
of the curriculum.
The Elmira College nursery school for fifteen children between the ages of two and five
years was opened primarily as a laboratory for college students, but it had become so
popular with parents in the community that there was always a long waiting list.
The New York Times article notes how the nursery had become one of the essential
laboratories of the college, where recent mothers testified to the value of the training
they received while in college. "Today," one graduate said, "when it is often necessary
for young women to continue professional work outside the home after marriage, it is
important that young fathers, who must share in the actual care and training of the
children, should have some knowledge of correct methods."
Many factors led to the movement never getting the funding it needed to remain
relevant, including: vigorous debate about the exact meaning of euthenics, a
strong anti-feminism movement paralleling even stronger women's rights movements,
confusion with the term eugenics, the economic impact of the Great Depression and two
world wars. These factors also prevented the discipline from gaining the attention it
needed to put together a lasting, vastly multidisciplinary curriculum. Therefore, it split off
into separate disciplines. Child Study is one such curriculum.
Martin Heggestad of the Mann Library notes that "Starting around 1920, however, home
economists tended to move into other fields, such as nutrition and textiles, that offered
more career opportunities, while health issues were dealt with more in the hard
sciences and in the professions of nursing and public health. Also, improvements in
public sanitation (for example, the wider availability of sewage systems and of food
inspection) led to a decline in infectious diseases and thus a decreasing need for the
largely household-based measures taught by home economists." Thus, the end of
euthenics as originally defined by Ellen Swallow Richards ensued.
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Relationship with Eugenics
According to Ellen Richards, in her book Euthenics: the science of controllable
The betterment of living conditions, through conscious endeavor, for the purpose of
securing efficient human beings, is what the author means by Euthenics.
"Human vitality depends upon two primary conditions—heredity and hygiene—or
conditions preceding birth and conditions during life."
Eugenics deals with race improvement through heredity.
Euthenics deals with race improvement through environment.
Eugenics is hygiene for the future generations.
Euthenics is hygiene for the present generation.
Eugenics must await careful investigation.
Euthenics has immediate opportunity.
Euthenics precedes eugenics, developing better men now, and thus inevitably creating
a better race of men in the future. Euthenics is the term proposed for the preliminary
science on which Eugenics must be based.
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Debate, Misconceptions and Opposition
Debate over misconceptions about the movement started almost from the beginning. In
his comparison "Eugenics, Euthenics, And Eudemics", (American Journal of Sociology,
Vol. 18, No. 6, May 1913), Lester F. Ward of Brown University opens the second
section regarding euthenics lamenting:
Is there, then, nothing to do? Are we to accept that modem scientific fatalism known
as laissez faire, which enjoins the folding of the arms? Are we to preach a gospel of
inaction? I for one certainly am not content to do so, and I believe that nothing I have
thus far said [about eugenics] is inconsistent with the most vigorous action, and that in
the direction of the betterment of the human race. The end and aim of the eugenists
cannot be reproached. The race is far from perfect. Its condition is deplorable. Its
improvement is entirely feasible, and in the highest degree desirable. Nor do I refer
merely to economic conditions, to the poverty and misery of the disinherited classes.
The intellectual state of the world is deplorable, and its improvement is clearly within the
reach of society itself. It is therefore a question of method rather than of principle that
Ward later noted about the organic environment that:
Darwin has taught us that the chief barrier to the advance of any species of plants or
animals is its competition with other plants and animals that contest the same ground.
And therefore the fiercest opponents of any species are the members of the same
species which demand the same elements of subsistence. Hence the chief form of relief
in the organic world consists in the thinning-out of competitors. Any species of animals or
plants left free to propagate at its normal rate would overrun the earth in a short time and
leave no room for any other species. Any species that is sufficiently vigorous to resist its
organic environment will crowd out all others and monopolize the earth. If nature
permitted this there could be no variety, but only one monotonous aspect devoid of
interest or beauty. Whatever we may think of the harsh method by which this is
prevented, we cannot regret that it is prevented, and that we have a world of variety,
interest, and aesthetic attractiveness.
Vassar historians note that "critics faulted the new program as a weakening of science
and a slide into vocationalism. The influential educator and historian of
education, Abraham Flexner—one of the founders of the Princeton Institute for
Advanced Study—attacked the program, along with other “ad hoc” innovations like
intercollegiate athletics and student governments, in Universities, American, English,
"Well, what is euthenics? Euthenics is the 'science of efficient living;' and the 'science' is artificially
pieced together of bits of mental hygiene, child guidance, nutrition, speech development and
correction, family problems, wealth consumption, food preparation, household technology, and
horticulture.... The institute is actually justified in an official publication by the profound question of
a girl student who is reported as asking, 'What is the connection of Shakespeare with having a
baby?' The Vassar Institute of Euthenics bridges this gap!"
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In the summer of 1926, Margaret Sanger created a stir when she gave a radio address,
called "Racial Betterment", in the first Euthenics Institute, where she praised attempts to
"close our gates to the so-called 'undesirables'" and proposed efforts to "discourage or
cut down on the rapid multiplication of the unfit and undesirable at home", by
government-subsidized voluntary sterilization. (from The Selected Papers of Margaret
Sanger, vol. 1 (2003), Esther Katz, ed.)
Eugenicist, Charles Benedict Davenport, noted in his article "Euthenics and Eugenics,"
found reprinted in the Popular Science Monthly of January 1911, page 18, 20:
Thus the two schools of euthenics and eugenics stand opposed, each viewing the other
unkindly. Against eugenics it is urged that it is a fatalistic doctrine and deprives life of
the stimulus toward effort. Against euthenics the other side urges that it demands an
endless amount of money to patch up conditions in the vain effort to get greater
efficiency. Which of the two doctrines is true?
The thoughtful mind must concede that, as is so often the case where doctrines are
opposed, each view is partial, incomplete and really false. The truth does not exactly lie
between the doctrines; it comprehends them both. What a child becomes is always the
resultant of two sets of forces acting from the moment the fertilized egg begins its
development—one is the set of internal tendencies and the other is the set of external
influences. What the result of an external influence—a particular environmental
condition—shall be depends only in part upon the nature of the influence; it depends
also upon the internal nature of the reacting protoplasm.
Incest, cousin marriage, the marriage of defectives and tuberculous persons, are, in
wide circles, taboo. This fact affords the basis for the hope that, when the method of
securing strong offspring, even from partially defective stock—and where is the strain
without any defect?—is widely known, the teachings of science in respect even to
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marriage matings will be widely regarded and that in the generations to come the
teachings and practice of euthenics will yield greater result because of the previous
practice of the principles of eugenics.
In a New York Times op-ed dated October 24, 1926, entitled "Eugenics and
euthenics", in response to an op-ed entitled "Bright Children Who Fail" which appeared
the previous October 15, student of child psychology, Joseph A. Krisses observes:
From intensive study we realize the importance of eugenics—the right of birth, and also the
subject of euthenics—the right to environment. Too little credit is given to environment when we
speak of children having hereditary traits as "Like father, like son," or "Chip off the old block."
Such phrases have their origin from the study of eugenics. No one has ever taken
an Edwards baby and reared it in a Jukes environment. ”
"Not through chance, but through increase of scientific knowledge; not through
compulsion, but through democratic idealism consciously working through common
interests, will be brought about the creation of right conditions, the control of the
environment." (Ellen H. Swallow Richards)
"Right living conditions comprise pure food and a safe water supply, a clean and
disease free atmosphere in which to live and work, proper shelter and adjustment of
work, rest, and amusements." (Ellen H. Swallow Richards)
"Probably not more than twenty-five percent in any community are capable of doing a
full days work such as they would be capable of doing if they were in perfect health"
(Ellen H. Swallow Richards)
"Men ignore nature's laws in their personal lives. They crave a larger measure of
goodness and happiness, and yet in their choice of dwelling places, in their building of
houses to live in, in their selection of food and drink, in their clothing of their bodies, in
their choice of occupations and amusements, in their methods and habits of work, they
disregard natural laws and impose upon themselves conditions that make their ideals of
goodness and happiness impossible of attainment." (George E. Dawson, The control of
life through Environment)
It is within the power of every living man to rid himself of every parasitic disease." (Louis
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VI. Social Design
Social Design is design, that is mindful of the designer’s role and responsibility in
society; and the use of the design process to bring about social change. Social design is
also a critical discipline that challenges the pure market-orientedness of conventional
design practice, and attempts to see past, into a more inclusive conception of design, in
which user groups who are marginalized are also given priority.
Within the design
defined as a
design process that contributes to
improving human well- being and livelihood. The
agenda of social design is inspired by among others' Victor Papanek’s idea that
designers and creative professionals have a responsibility and are able to cause real
change in the world through good design. Papanek writes about responsible design.
Designers can contribute to designing more ecological products by carefully selecting
the materials they use. Papanek also remarks on designing for people's needs rather
than their wants. Responsible design includes many directions and one of these is
design for the Third World. Designers have responsibility over the choices they make in
Social design thinking within the design world joins developing human and social
capital with new products and processes that are profitable. Profitability
and ownership of the processes are the cornerstones of sustainability that underpins
human well-being. Another author that contributes to the development of this definition
of social design is Victor Margolin. He writes in "The Politics of the Artificial" about the
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"designer's ability to envision and give form on material and immaterial products that
can address human problems on broad scale and contribute to social well-being."
This ideology is something that social design is built on. In this view social design is an
activity that should not be framed with connotations of charity, aid donations, help etc. It
is not voluntary work, but it should be seen as professional contribution that plays a part
in local economic development or livelihood. At the same time Social Design also
challenges the conventional market model of designing. While traditionally, Design has
been approached as a profession that remains strictly answerable to market forces,
Social design envisages the possibility of a more distributive conception of surpluses, by
ensuring that the benefits of services and systems reach a wider range of user groups
who may often fall outside the market system.
Another starting point for outlining social design is strategic thinking of design. Creating
policies and implementing them on a civil level. The two poles: tradition and the market
economy can, in one of the models for social design, be placed in interaction, rather
than in competition, with each other. An author that has to be mentioned here is Jacque
Frescoand his Venus Project. He proposes that the future of the social systems needs
to be designed by the scientific method. Social design can then be seen as a process
that leads to human capabilities that in turn contributes to their well-being. As Amartya
Sen writes, poverty is seen as deprivation of capabilities. By focusing on capabilities,
rather than e.g. income, Amartya Sen suggests that development within various social
aspects of life can contribute to general development. Understanding and using social
design processes can contribute to the improvement of livelihood.
As social media becomes integrated with live performance, social design has become a
term to describe someone who designs how online tools connect to a performance. Just
as there are lighting designers, sound designers, set designers, costume designers and
video designers - social designers work with a team to complement a production with
social media tools and content. In this context, social design is defined as: "The
strategic implementation of social media to deepen or broaden the nature of an artistic
Another dimension of social design focuses on designing systems that join the elements
of communication, new product development and the environment. It is argued that no
single area of design is, by itself, sufficient to drive sustainable social development.
What is needed is a system of design, one that encompasses all of the areas of design,
towards an open system with multiple, self-adjusting and complementary actors that aim
for a vision of a loosely defined common set of goals.
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Outside the design world social design appears in a number of professional
environments. There are a growing number of artists, especially in Scandinavia, that
use the term social design to describe their work, though the work is exhibited within the
art world. These are artist like FOS and Superflex. They come out of a tradition of social
art that can be led back to the Futurists, the Dadaists and e.g. the German artist Joseph
Beuys. In the realm of practice, however, Social design can be rooted more specifically
in developing world contexts, within unequal spaces, where design is not merely an
attempt at serving the few, but many simultaneously. This approach is particularly taken
in the MDes Program in Social Design in Ambedkar University, Delhi, India.
The term social design is also increasingly used to describe design of the social world.
This definition implicates a perception of a man-made reality, which consequently can
only be changed by humans, and is changed by humans all the time. In this view social
design is inescapable, it is there whether people are aware of it or not. The social reality
is created as a result of the sum of all our individual actions.
There is an emerging discussion of this concept of social design, which encompasses
all other definitions of the term.
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The Center for Social Design, at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), is
dedicated to demonstrating the value of design in addressing complex social
problems and to preparing the next generation of creative changemakers. The
Center is home to the first graduate-level, degree-bearing program in social
design, the MA in Social Design (MASD), launched in 2011.
The World Design Research Initiative aka Worldesign, at the University of Art
and Design Helsinki. Worldesign aims to explore issues relevant to social,
welfare, and responsible design and to generate theory, as well as applicable
systems or models. Its members produce exhibitions, workshops, and
publications, which work as tools for testing and evaluating different social design
Architects Arup Associates designed The Druk White Lotus School in the Indian
Himalaya along social design principles.
The University of Applied Arts Vienna has a master's degree dedicated to the
challenges within urban social systems and related issues. The master
programme is oriented towards graduates from diverse fields of study using
transdisciplinary teams. Art in synergy with project-related scientific methods and
knowledge is seen as a tool for urban innovation.
The University of Technology Sydney introduced a Bachelor of Creative
Intelligence & Innovation (BCII) degree in 2014 which must be completed in
combination with another undergraduate degree. With a strong focus on
developing novel solutions for social issues, it enables students "to participate in
a future-facing, world-first, transdisciplinary degree that takes multiple
perspectives from diverse fields, integrating a range of industry experiences,
real-world projects and self-initiated proposals – equipping students to address
the complex challenges and untapped opportunities of our times."
The School of Design Ambedkar University, Delhi, India, offers an MDes in
Social Design. The program commenced in 2013 and has been through many
iterations. At its core, however, the philosophy of the program is to make design
more inclusive, at the level of creation and also at the level of users.
The Diseño Social EN+, work in integrating socially concerned designers and
NGOs to help them improve the quality of their communications, whether from
the formation or from the connection between designers and organizations. NGO
· Spain, launched in 2011.
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The Vision Thing
Social Design Notes 29 January 2008
An article of mine is running in the Design Issues column of the January/February
2008 Communication Arts. It started out as a piece about design education outside of
traditional design schools, but then turned into something more — about grassroots
engagement with public space and the power of design to envision change.
Thanks Nicolas, Kim, Chris, David, and DK for their insight.
Seeing and Creating Change Through Design
It’s is not just in design schools. It’s not just in mentorship programs at top shelf firms.
Design and education meet in the streets.
Most graphic design education points to a career as a design professional. But the
same tools we use to undertake user research, solve problems, and satisfy clients can
be used by young people to voice their opinions and meet the needs of their
neighborhoods and communities.
The stories below are shining examples of design as populism. The designers of these
projects – amateurs and professionals – have moved beyond a passive relationship to
the world, beyond the daily pattern of serving clients, responding to assignments, and
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By taking it outside, they are asserting a positive vision and owning the spaces they live
in – and in the process are making these places better for us all.
Memorials shape our collective memory. They are a tangible, public stake against
forgetting, a manifesto to the present and a reminder of the past as a warning for the
future. Put forth by loved ones after a tragedy, grassroots memorials are at once both
personal and public – often filling a void where government-funded memorials leave off.
Some are subtle collections of flowers and personal items, occupying quiet corners of
common space. Others scream out for attention. Rendered three-stories tall on the side
of a building, the memorial mural on Butler Street and Third Avenue in Brooklyn is hard
The design is a tribute to 28 pedestrians killed by cars between 1995 and 2007 in the
streets of Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood. The mural depicts three young boys, fifthgraders
Victor Flores and Juan Estrada, and 4-year-old James Rice. All three were
killed by cars speeding around corners – Rice was struck down just a block from the
spot where the mural now stands. The driver who hit Rice got a ticket for failure to yield.
Represented as towering figures painted in ghostly blue, the boys hold up redesigned
streetsigns with traffic-related symbols urging respect for pedestrians. The three boys
are accompanied by a blank silhouette holding up an unambiguous red stop sign
declaring: “Not one more death.” The effect is chilling.
The mural was initiated by Transportation Alternatives, a non-profit group founded in
1973 to promote bicycling, walking, and public transit for safer streets. TA approached
the Groundswell Community Mural Project, a group that matches communities with
artists and grassroots organizations to create large-scale visuals that foster social
change. In this case, the purpose of the mural was threefold – symbolically, to
remember the children; practically, to slow traffic and reduce further collisions; and
politically, as a platform for public advocacy.
In the summer of 2007, Groundswell pulled together a team that included artists
Christopher Cardinale and Nicole Schulman and a group of neighborhood teenagers.
The 11 young men and women all hailed from housing projects in the Gowanus
neighborhood, recruited from afterschool programs, through tenant associations, and at
a summer job fair for area teens.
The project involved three weeks of research and three weeks of painting. In this case,
research meant gathering information about traffic and transportation issues and about
the history of accidents in the area, a mixed-use neighborhood zoned for industrial and
residential use near an elevated highway. Guided by the artists, the teens conceived of
the mural imagery, planned, prepped, and painted it.
Traffic engineers prefer the term “crashes” to “accidents” recognizing that these are
failures of infrastructure and design, not random chance. And the New York City
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Department of Transportation (DoT) has been vigorously criticized for its apparent bias
towards keeping traffic moving more than keeping pedestrians safe. This criticism
reached a fever pitch in 1997 when community outrage over pedestrian deaths led to
protests and early morning street-blockades. As a result, the DoT held public meetings
and developed a plan for improving pedestrian safety.
However, ten years later, when James Rice was killed, the plan still had not been
implemented. The 2007 mural does not directly criticize city officials, but the message is
clear: had the DoT kept the promises it made in 1997 the boys might be alive today.
This time, the message was heard.
It was a hard summer for the artists and teens who slogged through the physically
exhausting effort, painting in extreme heat on the south-facing scaffolding. But the effort
has paid off – both in its reception by the community and its effect on public policy. One
hundred and fifty local residents turned out for the mural’s unveiling. They were joined
by a State Senator, a State Assembly Member, Police Department officials,
representatives from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office and the Department of
Transportation. This time the DoT has backed its words with cash. At the unveiling,
Senior Policy Advisor Jon Orcutt announced that the first phase of construction in the
Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Project will begin in Spring 2008. The city has
designated $5 million to build 101 improvements at 43 intersections. For the DoT to
make such a pledge at a community event is unprecedented.
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From a design point of view, the power of this project comes not only from the
compelling subject matter—the deaths of children and other pedestrians—but also its
clever and multilayered design. The scale of the image is not only eye-catching, it is
functional. Drivers will often slow down when triggered by a visual stimuli, say a school,
bike, or unusual sign. As such, the mural itself acts as a “visual speed bump.” And while
speaking eloquently of the responsibilities of the DoT, the mural sensitively addresses
other constituencies; for instance, though the mural is about traffic fatalities, it does not
blame cars or drivers. The neighborhood where the mural is located is full of car-related
businesses such as automobile glass and auto body repair shops, so the designers took
this into account. In their research, the teens found that local drivers, cyclists, and
pedestrians all expressed concerns about each other. Instead of taking an oppositional
stance, the Gowanus mural puts forward a positive vision: it encourages mutual respect
from all and the safe sharing of streets.
The teenagers also erected alternative street signs that were installed around the area
urging respect and awareness. At the unveiling, activists set up traffic calming devices
of their own, moving barriers and planters to narrow traffic lanes and slow down traffic.
One part guerilla action, the purpose was twofold – both to calm traffic and to make a
point: these improvements are so simple that kids can do them. For years, pedestrian
advocates have encouraged the Department of Transportation to try out a variety of
temporary measures with cheap materials, testing changes before investing in
permanent and expensive infrastructure. The Gowanus teens brought this message to
Affected residents and transportation officials weren’t the only ones to notice the team’s
work. Throughout the summer, guests at the Comfort Inn down the block were often
seen taking pictures of the mural during the painting process, and no doubt taking
stories back with them to their own neighborhoods. Now completed, images of the
mural have circulated on the Internet via blogs and photo sharing websites, spreading
the images and news of its success – and perhaps inspiring others.
When artist Josh MacPhee moved to Chicago in 1997, he was astonished by the ads
and posters in the city. The barrage of corporate images inspired him to create a visual
campaign of his own. “It was striking how everything was a directive,” says MacPhee,
“[the ads and posters] all expected the audience to buy something or go somewhere. I
wanted to put something on the street that was a little more generous than that.”
MacPhee set out to challenge the imagery in his neighborhood’s public space by putting
up something more meaningful to the lives and struggles of its residents.
He designed a portrait of Malcolm X, printed up 1,200 copies, and hit the streets to
wheatpaste them. Within minutes, people began to gather around asking MacPhee for
posters for their kids and friends. The popularity of the poster sparked the idea for a
continuing series of posters– a set of portraits to celebrate individuals, groups, and
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events of significance in the struggle for social justice and freedom. The “Celebrate
People’s History” series was born. Soon people were ordering prints and signing up for
Since then, MacPhee and a team of volunteer designers have published more than 44
images that recognize individuals, organizations, and events outside the usual
mainstream history books. Now distributed by the Just Seeds collective, poster subjects
have included: Paul Robeson, a singer, actor, writer, and civil rights activist; ADAPT, a
national network of activists with disabilities engaged in non-violent civil disobedience
demanding changes to policies that exclude people with disabilities from American
society; and the Mothers of East Los Angeles, a community group that has successfully
fought construction of a prison and a toxic waste incinerator in East L.A.
pique the curiosity and hungry minds of their students.
consequence of the
project was the
among teachers. It
turns out, there are
few visual materials
for teachers about
social history, and
even fewer at a price
teachers can afford.
The posters are sold
cheaply on the web
and in progressive
bookstores around the
pour in not only from
history teachers, but
also from teachers of
Sociology, and Art.
The posters help
teachers design the
visual environment of
their classrooms to
Because the posters are self-published on a shoestring budget, the palette of each is
limited to two colors on a colored paper. This constraint gives the posters in the series,
designed by a variety of artists, a unified look and feel. Students respond positively to
the look – a sophisticated, urban aesthetic. Each image is accompanied with a brief
block of text.
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Political posters often express outrage about what is wrong. Their tone is “anti.”
MacPhee and his team have found that it’s also necessary to celebrate victories, to give
a sense of what one is “for.” Such a positive vision creates hope and inspiration. The
posters depict regular working class people struggling for justice. Focusing on social
struggles in the real world, the posters also form a bridge between the lived world of
young people and their classroom life.
No longer limited to Chicago, the posters are now distributed to a network of
wheatpasters in cities around the world, bringing people’s history to a variety of
communities. Contributing artist Nicolas Lampert notes, “For artists it’s a difficult
assignment - which person do you celebrate? How do you best communicate with
images and words in a single space? What factors do you focus on?” A single poster
may go through many iterations. Lampert, who teaches art in Milwaukee, has used the
exercise in his classes, asking students to pick their own figure from history and design
a poster. The posters depict movements that are local, that connect with communities
and feature every-day people. These are not professional designers, but are harnessing
the power of design in their own way. It’s an empowering message: you make the
poster, you get to control your design and your history.
In cities around the world, the town square is the heart of the community. It pulses with
conversation, music, and celebration. Not just the geographic center, a well designed
square nourishes social life. And when the square is neglected, public life is diminished.
With this in mind, the students at Edcouch-Elsa High School set out to redesign the park
at the center of their town.
Edcouch-Elsa is a poor, rural community on the southern tip of Texas, 20 miles from the
border with Mexico. A teeming railroad town at the turn of the century, today it boasts a
population of 8,000 with a poverty rate hovering around 46 percent – one of the highest
in the state. Mario Leal park is about the size of a city block, around half a mile from the
center of town. Over time it had become run down, littered with rotting equipment and
broken glass. In 2003, a group of high school students who were learning about social
justice and community change found a cause in their own back yard.
The students undertook the project through the Llano Grande Center for Research and
Development, a non-profit inside their high school. Founded by teachers, students, and
community members to redefine how students were prepared for college, the program
grounds students in the community as leaders and generators of change.
As with most design projects, first came the discovery phase. The students talked to
members of the community and learned about the broader tradition of town plazas. 96
percent of the town’s residents are Latino and research looked to Mexico, where
the zócalo, or town square, is also the heart of the city. The students talked to elderly
residents about their memories of the park and learned that it used to be the center for
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5k runs, community festivals, concerts, and softball tournaments. Students went to the
park and interviewed its current users. They talked to people from all different age
groups about what they wanted out of the park (better lighting, access to bathrooms, a
nicer playground, a skate park.) They collected memorabilia, historic photographs, and
documented their interviews, eventually compiling a report of their findings and
producing a short video to document the social history and physical deterioration of the
Inspired by the students’ work and vision, the Llano Grande Center arranged a
presentation before the City Council. Backed up by their findings and video
documentation, the students made their case for a redesign of the park. The Council
was impressed. They promised to match $10,000 in student-raised funds for the
renovation of the park and commissioned a student advisory committee on the project.
Unfortunately, little came of the officials’ promises.
However, the project didn’t end there. In 2006, the students presented their video to a
group of educators, one of whom connected them to the City of Neighborhoods program
at the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design in New York. Run by the Cooper-
Hewitt’s education department, the project encourages civic engagement by teaching
problem solving through the lens of design. City of Neighborhoods works with teachers
and students across the country, fostering projects in Birmingham, Long Beach,
Brooklyn, and in the 9th ward in New Orleans. Two Edcouch-Elsa students were invited
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to participate in the Cooper-Hewitt “I [heart] Design” conference in New York where the
students learned about “the capacity of design to influence, provoke and inspire.”
Reinvigorated, the student teams in Texas began to develop their own designs for the
square. A local architect held workshops with them where they looked at traditional
Mexican architecture and landscaping with native plants. With designs in hand, the
students were ready to face the City Council once again and were determined to see
their vision realized.
The intrepid teenagers again went before the Council, this time to present and defend
their designs. When questioned by a council member about a brightly colored play
ground, the students were ready. Why not use black and yellow, the colors of the
successful high school sports team? We did research, the student replied, young
children respond to primary colors. The council was impressed, as were the students –
in this poor community, where many students’ parents are migrant farm workers,
making their voices heard was a profound experience.
The town applied for and won a $500,000 matching grant from the Texas Parks and
Wildlife Department. In turn, the Council told the students, whatever you raise, we will
match. Unfortunately, because of the city’s poor fiscal situation, the council was
ultimately unable to match the state grant, but it has committed to working with the
students’ design and has hired an engineer to help make it happen.
Being teenagers, a number of students included skate parks in their redesign plans –
but they didn’t stop there. The students researched and found the Tony Hawk
Foundation, which funds the construction of skate parks. The students visited a skate
shop in the next town over and interviewed the owner about what was required to
sustain the park and shop. Armed with this data, the students applied for a grant to
implement their plan.
The project is still ongoing, but for teenagers who had never before had a stake in
politics, it was an eye opening experience. The students now have first-hand experience
of the civic process — and how to influence it.
Taking It Public
Design offers a different way of reading the visual environment, navigating culture, and
understanding the systems that shape our world. Designers know all about the
manufacture of desire and dissatisfaction, selling images and ideas. Design education
puts these tools in the hands of students and creates openings for greater selfexpression.
This is not just expression of emotion and style, but self-expression in a
fuller, richer sense – as an expression of values and of one’s own power.
Taken to the public sphere, design skills become transformative. A common theme in
the stories above is the relationship between ordinary folks and public space. In each
case, artists, designers, and students are intervening to shape the visual and built
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environment to benefit their communities. Design is a powerful means of expressing a
vision for what change might look like. Taking it public makes it possible for others to
see, respond, and even participate.
Sadly, it’s all too easy for communities lacking financial resources to become politically
marginalized. But by engaging friends, family, and neighbors, designers and artists
become community workers facilitating connections, dreams, and, ultimately, the
political power to realize those dreams. For teenagers, winning a favorable response to
their designs and public recognition of their ideas is a positive
reinforcement for personal growth.
As the students of Edcouch-Elsa High
School note in their documentary video, “This
project is more than
just about renovating a
public park, it’s about creating hope.”
By taking design
to the streets, the
students got a
lesson in civic
that they have the
power to direct
and to shape the
public space we share. They
learned that engaging and creative
design applies to issues
that matter not only to
boardroom elites, but to everyday people – and can
make the world a little bit better. Maybe there’s a lesson there for professional
designers as well.
To the Streets
Social Design Notes 18 May 2004
I wrote the essay below for the Design Issues column in the May/June 2004 issue
of Communication Arts. I profile a couple of folks using graphic design for advocacy. I
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didn’t call it out explicitly in the text, but it’s of some relevance that the projects here are
generally not pro-bono projects “for charity,” but are organizations started bydesigners
generally working with broader communities. Check it out.
Taking It to The Streets
Graphic Design for Advocacy
Walking the streets of New York City in February 2003, one couldn’t help but notice all
these little blue stickers. Stuck to walls, phone booths, bus stops, scaffolding, mail
boxes — they popped up everywhere to announce the February 15 march against
President Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
The blue stickers were just one of the many anti-war graphics circulating at the time.
Around the Web, activists were posting free, easy-to-print designs using a variety of
techniques: clever slogans, typographic play, dramatic photos and the ironic use of
vintage propaganda imagery.
But the February 15 stickers on the streets of New York were different — simple and
bold, a little blue banner announcing the time and place of the march. They did not
make an emotional appeal with pictures of scarred and armless Iraqi children or U.S.
soldiers, nor was there any argument about why the war was wrong.
The February 15 posters were not intended to change people’s minds in a direct way,
but to notify the public about the upcoming protest — and to make dissent visible. The
mainstream media had entirely avoided covering the anti-war movement prior to
February 15. In the face of this de facto censorship and police obstruction over the route
of the march, the stickers acted as thousands of little acts of civil disobedience. And
with the urban landscape as a medium, the stickers set the stage for even larger acts of
Activist L.A. Kauffman designed the stickers, which were produced by the coalition
United for Peace and Justice. Volunteers distributed over 200,000 stickers around the
city in just under a month. And, while the accompanying poster design featured a
growing list of cities with simultaneous marches on the 15th, only after the event did the
significance become clear: on the same day in over 600 cities around the world, over 10
million people protested the war.
It was an example of what historian George Lipsitz describes in his essay “Not Just
Another Social Movement, Poster Art and the Movimiento Chicano,” “[Posters] lead
people toward affiliations and alliances that can augment their power.... Movements
have to create spaces for social change — figuratively by using memory and
imagination to expand the realities and possibilities of the present, but also literally by
creating physical places, institutions, and events where the hope-for future makes itself
felt in the present.” 1
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The stickers prompted me to seek out other examples of design in the public interest.
Below are a few current projects in the United States. Each uses graphic design in a
different way and within different constituencies. But they share this in common: they
use design as a means to facilitate public participation.
Though the designs were produced by individuals, they are connected to larger social
movements — helping to build those movements, engage people in political processes,
help them make informed decisions and stand up for their rights.
Public Participation, Large and Small
The Friends of the Highline (http://thehighline.org/) is a nonprofit organization working to
convert an abandoned elevated rail structure along the west side of Manhattan into a
unique, elevated public park. Founded in 1999 by writer Joshua David and artist Robert
Hammond, FHL has taken a multi-pronged strategy: working with city, state and federal
officials to obtain the necessary approvals and paperwork, as well as consulting
neighborhood residents and engaging the broader public, incorporating them into the
To fire the public imagination, FHL held a public design competition soliciting visions for
redevelopment of the Line. Designs poured in from across the city and around the
world. The jury awarded special prizes for the design that best addressed accessibility
and the one that best incorporated native flora.
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Proposals included a roller coaster, movable gardens, and a one-and-a-half mile
elevated swimming pool — wild ideas celebrating the Line and New York City — testing
the limits and provoking debate.
While the competition was a work of large-scale public participation, FHL also uses
design for participation on a smaller scale, distributing hundreds of elegantly designed
postcards to solicit comments from the public and, in particular, residents living in
neighborhoods near the Line.
FHL pays special attention to the design of its materials. Its feasibility studies,
newsletters, Web site, information distributed at public meetings — everything they
publish is direct and clear, projecting a confidence, stylishness and attention to detail.
As with their newsletter that is printed on recycled newsprint, their materials also
embody a commitment to the environment and sensible budgeting — aspects they hope
to embody in the final design of the Line.
Hammond notes, “When we started the project, we had little credibility and lots of
opposition. Most people thought it was impossible and would never happen. Designers
and artists were one of the few groups who did not care if it was impossible — they
recognized it was a dream worth fighting for. So we used their talents to give our
materials the look and feel of a much bigger organization. People were impressed with
the design of our brochure and invites. It made them excited about joining and being
involved with the project. I think the design helped win over people who were initially
very skeptical of the project. It helped build the momentum we needed.”
The hard work has paid off. At the July 9 exhibition preview, New York City Council
Speaker Gifford Miller announced a $15.75 million funding commitment for planning and
With recent civic budget cuts and other projects around the city faltering, Hammond
attributes the FHL’s success to a broad support base which includes long-time
neighborhood residents as well as the newer art and design-based businesses. The
culminating gala benefit included many A-list authors, actors and artists — hardly your
typical, dull ribbon-cutting, and a testament to their outreach.
And, he says, the design of their campaign materials is key. “Good design is not just a
good goal, it can help make things happen.”
From Public Intervention to Public Policy
In 1997, while New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani crowed about a declining murder rate
and various quality-of-life improvements, the number of pedestrian fatalities was rising.
Every 27 minutes someone in the city was struck by a motor vehicle.
To memorialize the victims and raise awareness of this crisis, ad man Harris Silver and
a couple of friends took to the street — literally — to the pavement wherever someone
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had been killed by an automobile, painting an outline of a collapsed body along with the
victim’s name and date of death.
Silver has since founded Citystreets, a nonprofit organization focused on pedestrian
rights and safety issues in New York City.
Citystreets (http://citystreets.org/) is run out of the office of Think Tank 3, a creative
agency Silver founded with creative director Sharoz Makarechi in 2002. Think Tank 3 is
a full-service agency that does everything from marketing strategy to full campaigns,
graphic design, production and buying media.
Accordingly, Citystreets’s campaign for pedestrian rights crosses many media: print
design, video, intervention in the streets and good old-fashioned face-to-face lobbying.
While the stencil project has not directly impacted public policy, the idea has become
viral. “We know of stencil campaigns in Atlanta, San Francisco, Vancouver, Amsterdam
and Sydney,” says Makarechi. “Every now and then we get a call — someone’s cousin
was struck by a car and they want to put down a stencil.” Over 200 outlines have been
painted in New York City alone.
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Citystreets does not just criticize the city, they have analyzed data identifying the
intersections with the worst fatality rates, and graphed out solutions and
recommendations. They have met with the Department of Transportation, testified
before the city council, and briefed all the mayoral candidates on their findings.
As creative professionals, Citystreets offered a critical assessment of the city’s
communications campaigns. They found that almost all the city’s safety advertisements
were geared towards preventing drunk driving. While needed, Silver noted that only
twenty percent of traffic accidents in New York City result from drunk driving. Citystreets
proposed a broader messaging campaign to encourage drivers to drive responsibly and
turn more safely across pedestrian crosswalks.
They have also tracked the astonishing increase in cycling fatalities in recent years. The
most common, and often deadly, injury to cyclists is being hit by a car door opened
suddenly in the path of the moving cyclist.
Citystreets designed an elegant warning sticker to post on the passenger doors of all
New York City taxis. Transparent, save the thin sans-serif type, the sticker quietly asks
passengers to please look for cyclists before opening the door. The stickers cost
pennies to produce per vehicle and their implementation would only require a directive
from the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission that regulates 35,000 vehicles
on the streets of New York.
They presented their idea to the Commission, even offering to pay for printing the
stickers, but the Commission declined, responding, “We do not believe stickers are an
effective means of communication.” This is rather absurd, since the Commission itself
requires every taxi to display a range of stickers and information to the passenger: a city
map, the driver’s license number, the flat fare from JFK and a Taxi Rider’s Bill of Rights.
Again, Citystreets took matters into their own hands and called on the public to
participate. They printed the stickers themselves and distributed them to supporters for
free along with a page of information on the issue, and the address of the Taxi and
It’s too soon to tell whether there have been fewer accidents, but the grassroots
pressure has had some effect: in May 2003, the Taxi and Limousine Commission
announced a new Taxi Rider’s Bill of Rights sticker with pictograms warning riders to
exit curb side and to watch for cyclists. The design is not as elegant or prominent as the
Citystreets design, but it’s a start.
While Citystreets has no formal membership structure, they do have a loose network of
supporters that attend events and participate in actions, as well as informal links with
related organizations around the world. “If people want to get involved they should just
e-mail us. It’s easy to adopt the stencil project to raise awareness,” says Makarechi.
Drawing connections between Think Tank 3 and Citystreets, Makarechi notes, it’s all
about design. “We do design and strategic thinking about design. We are urbanists. We
care about cities and about how people live. We care about our environment. We are
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not anti-car, but are looking at how streets are designed.” She adds, “We live in a city,
we can make it better, and we know how.”
Information (Design) Is Power
Also in New York City, the Community Mapping Assistance Project
(www.cmap.nypirg.org/) produces a different kind of graphic design for advocacy.
CMAP works with local groups to use information design and mapping in their
campaigns for social justice. Steven Romalewski started with the New York Public
Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) as a student in 1984 and has been involved ever
since. He began using design for an environmental campaign that mapped toxic sites
on Long Island. After a few years he considered starting a project to provide mapping
services to other nonprofits. With Marty DeBenedictis he launched CMAP. The project
now has six full-time staff.
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CMAP is a project of NYPIRG, a nonprofit organization, and relies on grants and
donations to keep its service fees low, making its services accessible to other
nonprofits. CMAP develops maps for reports and proposals, posters for display,
advocacy materials for lobbying and recently, online applications that generate maps
dynamically on the Web.
Using data from the New York City Department of Health, researchers for NYPIRG’s
campaign for stronger legislation against lead poisoning found that 94% of the highly
lead-poisoned children in New York City are African-American, Latino or Asian/Pacific.
By using the same data, CMAP also found a clear geographic concentration of
childhood lead poisoning in neighborhoods of color.
When the city government announced it would sell off city-owned land used for
community gardens, community groups worked with CMAP to produce maps of each
city council district and the gardens in that district. Presented with the graphics, city
council members realized the impact of the plan on their constituents and successfully
worked with the community groups to block the demolition of the gardens.
CMAP used the same technique to illustrate the impact of a proposal to cut youth
programs. The maps helped restore two million dollars to programs across the city.
Politicians, it seems, love visuals. CMAP’s graphics make the message clear, and spare
officials from reading another long report or boring legal document. And the press loves
graphics too. CMAP’s work has appeared in New York magazine, Crain’s New York
Business, Hoy newspaper, and the New York Times.
The maps have been used in news conferences held by the New York City Public
Advocate’s office, NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign and the Metropolitan Waterfront
A few other groups in the United States provide mapping services to nonprofits, city
agencies and larger, government or environmental projects. However, CMAP is unique
in its local advocacy experience. It has worked extensively with local non-profits and
has a history of engagement with the political processes of New York City.
CMAP spends a lot of time making its maps accessible, balancing simplicity and
functionality, but client education is just as important. CMAP does not just provide
technical services, but gives advice on what types of images, information and maps
could be used, helping clients develop an understanding of the power of design to make
their case to officials and the broader public.
And many of CMAP’s clients are repeat clients. Over the years, CMAP has helped
hundreds of clients use clear, accurate, information design to build community support,
to move public policy and to participate in the political processes that affect them.
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Not Just Another Small Business
Tumi’s Design (www.tumis.com) is the only bilingual, full-service Web development,
design and print shop in Oakland, California. The shop is owned and run by people of
color. In their words, “Our mission is to develop effective media solutions while
promoting human rights and ethical business practices.”
Tumi’s works with clients of all sizes. Larger clients include progressive organizations
like the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Vanguard Public Foundation and
KQED Public Broadcasting. Tumi’s also produces work for smaller, grassroots
organizations and local events that promote social justice and urban art. As such,
Tumi’s sliding scale is an important part of their business plan.
Tumi’s does not just service the local community but is an active participant. They join in
and sponsor events, and employ and train local youth. In turn, the community also
participates in governance of Tumi’s — Tumi’s works with an advisory group of
community organizers, consulting them on political questions. As such, Tumi’s is
accountable to community and to the larger movements it participates in.
The staff of Tumi’s see themselves as not just marketers but activists. “The work is not
about consumerism,” says graphic designer and co-founder Favianna Rodriguez, “It is
about people empowerment. Design firms don’t always have to go corporate. Designers
play an important role in the movements for social justice. It is images that mobilize us.”
Working with youth and local arts programs, the staff are also members of a community
producing its own images. “The media is dominated by corporations,” notes Rodriguez.
“Hip-hop, street style — things that came out of our neighborhood are used by
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corporations to sell back to us. Latinos are becoming a profitable market, but there are
not a lot of Latino designers.” The staff at Tumi’s strives to develop work that is relevant
to youth and communities of color — another co-founder is a well known graffiti artist
rooted in hip-hop. “A lot of us were brought up in hip-hop... We don’t want our work to
serve corporate interests, we want to speak to our audience.”
As part of their work on youth organizing and movement building, Tumi’s designers also
participate in national forums about media justice, Web-based activism and hip-hop
organizing. Tumi’s produced over 50,000 anti-war posters seen around the United
States. In California, they produced materials and helped coordinate campaigns against
Proposition 21, the “Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Initiative,” and
Proposition 54, the “Racial Privacy Initiative.”
Rodriguez is also active in a number of local arts organizations. She is a founder of the
East Side Arts Alliance that programs cultural arts and community programs for the
multi-ethnic community of East Oakland. The organization uses the arts for community
activism and allows members of the community to learn about their neighbors and to
share cultural traditions.
Rodriguez also helped found Visual Element, an arts program for young muralists.
Building on their experience with the youth program and teaching experience at
Oakland’s Castlemont High School, next year the staV of Tumi’s will participate in
Project YES, an educational program for youth in East Oakland, an area, Rodriguez
notes, that has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. Tumi’s will conduct a
workshop on graphic design and train young people in the skills they need to work
towards careers in design.
“Historically, political graphics in movements throughout the world have shaped our
society,” says Rodriguez. “One of [the] languages of liberation is art and design.”
Returning to the streets of New York City a year after the February 15th march, one can
still find traces of those stickers and posters. The scratched and peeling remnants have
become a whisper of dissent woven into the fabric of the physical city, digested into the
collective memory, reinforcing subsequent protest — and informing the upcoming
But first, it starts with an individual.
Say an individual at a party is rude. If one person complains, others would chime in and
offer support. But if no one complains, the group may assume that nobody else thinks it
is a problem.
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This is a social phenomenon called “pluralistic ignorance.” Members of a group develop
a false impression of how others are thinking, feeling or responding by misinterpreting
their visible behavior.
Or to take a more serious example, in an emergency situation, members of a group may
assume that the situation is not really an emergency because everyone appears calm
and no one seems to be taking action.
In other words, when each person waits for someone else to take action, no one does.
Artists and designers, some without traditional backgrounds in design, initiated all the
organizations and projects listed above. Still these are not just creative individuals
working on creative projects, but individuals working with organizations and movements,
and engaging in civic processes. In many cases, they are empowering communities to
act for themselves, rather than acting on behalf of the groups: not charity, but mutual
Together these groups are using graphic design as a powerful tool for advocacy, to
build community, and a means to participate in the decisions that affect our lives.
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VII. Moral Responsibility
In philosophy, Moral Responsibility is the status of morally deserving praise, blame,
reward, or or punishment for an act or omission performed or neglected in accordance
with one's moral obligations. Deciding what (if anything) counts as "morally obligatory" is
a principal concern of ethics.
Philosophers refer to people who have moral responsibility for an action as moral
agents. Agents have the capability to reflect upon their situation, to
form intentions about how they will act, and then to carry out that action. The notion
of free will has become an important issue in the debate on whether individuals are ever
morally responsible for their actions and, if so, in what sense.
Incompatibilists regard determinism as at odds with free will,
whereas compatibilists think the two can coexist.
Moral responsibility does not necessarily equate to legal responsibility. A person is
legally responsible for an event when a legal system is liable to penalise that person for
that event. Although it may often be the case that when a person is morally responsible
for an act, they are also legally responsible for it, the two states do not always coincide.
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Metaphysical libertarians think actions are not always causally determined, allowing for
the possibility of free will and thus moral responsibility. All libertarians are also
incompatibilists; they think that if causal determinism were true of human action; people
would not have free will. Accordingly, libertarians subscribe to the principle of alternate
possibilities, which posits that moral responsibility requires that people could have acted
Phenomenological considerations are sometimes invoked by incompatibilists to defend
a libertarian position. In daily life, we feel as though choosing otherwise is a viable
option. Although this feeling doesn't firmly establish the existence of free will, some
incompatibilists claim the phenomenological feeling of alternate possibilities is a
prerequisite for free will.
Jean-Paul Sartre suggested that people sometimes avoid incrimination and
responsibility by hiding behind determinism: "...we are always ready to take refuge in a
belief in determinism if this freedom weighs upon us or if we need an excuse".
A similar view has it that individual moral culpability lies in individual character. That is,
a person with the character of a murderer has no choice other than to murder, but can
still be punished because it is right to punish those of bad character. How one's
character was determined is irrelevant from this perspective. Robert Cummins, for
example, argues that people should not be judged for their individual actions, but rather
for how those actions "reflect on their character". If character (however defined) is the
dominant causal factor in determining one's choices, and one's choices are morally
wrong, then one should be held accountable for those choices, regardless of genes and
other such factors.
In law, there is a known exception to the assumption that moral culpability lies in either
individual character or freely willed acts. The insanity defense—or its
corollary, diminished responsibility (a sort of appeal to the fallacy of the single cause)—
can be used to argue that the guilty deed was not the product of a guilty mind. In such
cases, the legal systems of most Western societies assume that the person is in some
way not at fault, because his actions were a consequence of abnormal brain function
(implying brain function is a deterministic causal agent of mind and motive).
The Argument From Luck
The argument from luck is a criticism against the libertarian conception of moral
responsibility. It suggests that any given action, and even a person's character, is the
result of various forces outside that person's control. It may not be reasonable, then, to
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hold that person solely morally responsible. Thomas Nagel suggests that four different
types of luck (including genetic influences and other external factors) end up influencing
the way that a person's actions are evaluated morally. For instance, a person driving
drunk may make it home without incident, and yet this action of drunk driving might
seem more morally objectionable if someone happens to jaywalk along his path (getting
hit by the car).
This argument can be traced back to David Hume. If physical indeterminism is true,
then those events that are not determined are scientifically described as probabilistic or
random. It is therefore argued that it is doubtful that one can praise or blame someone
for performing an action generated randomly by his nervous system (without there being
any non-physical agency responsible for the observed probabilistic outcome).
Hard determinists (not to be confused with Fatalists) often use liberty in practical moral
considerations, rather than a notion of a free will. Indeed, faced with the possibility that
determinism requires a completely different moral system, some proponents say "So
much the worse for free will!".  Clarence Darrow, the famous defense attorney,
pleaded the innocence of his clients, Leopold and Loeb, by invoking such a notion of
hard determinism. During his summation, he declared:
What has this boy to do with it? He was not his own father; he was not his own mother;
he was not his own grandparents. All of this was handed to him. He did not surround
himself with governesses and wealth. He did not make himself. And yet he is to be
compelled to pay.
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Paul the Apostle, in his Epistle to the Romans addresses the question of moral
responsibility as follows: "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to
make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" In this view, individuals
can still be dishonoured for their acts even though those acts were ultimately completely
determined by God.
Joshua Greene and Jonathan Cohen, researchers in the emerging field of neuroethics,
argue, on the basis of such cases, that our current notion of moral responsibility is
founded on libertarian (and dualist) intuitions. They argue that cognitive
neuroscience research (e.g. neuroscience of free will) is undermining these intuitions by
showing that the brain is responsible for our actions, not only in cases of
florid psychosis, but also in less obvious situations. For example, damage to the frontal
lobe reduces the ability to weigh uncertain risks and make prudent decisions, and
therefore leads to an increased likelihood that someone will commit a violent crime. This
is true not only of patients with damage to the frontal lobe due to accident or stroke, but
also of adolescents, who show reduced frontal lobe activity compared to adults, and
even of children who are chronically neglected or mistreated. In each case, the guilty
party can, they argue, be said to have less responsibility for his actions. Greene and
Cohen predict that, as such examples become more common and well known, jurors’
interpretations of free will and moral responsibility will move away from the intuitive
libertarian notion that currently underpins them.
David Eagleman explains that nature and nurture cause all criminal behavior. He
likewise believes that science demands that change and improvement, rather than guilt,
must become the focus of the legal justice system.
Greene and Cohen also argue that the legal system does not require this libertarian
interpretation. Rather, they suggest that only retributive notions of justice, in which the
goal of the legal system is to punish people for misdeeds, require the libertarian
intuition. Many forms of ethically realistic and consequentialist approaches to justice,
which are aimed at promoting future welfare rather than retribution, can survive even a
hard determinist interpretation of free will. Accordingly, the legal system and notions of
justice can thus be maintained even in the face of emerging neuroscientific evidence
undermining libertarian intuitions of free will.
Neuroscientist David Eagleman maintains similar ideas. Eagleman says that the legal
justice system ought to become more forward looking. He says it is wrong to ask
questions of narrow culpability, rather than focusing on what is important: what needs to
change in a criminal's behavior and brain. Eagleman is not saying that no one is
responsible for their crimes, but rather that the "sentencing phase" should correspond
with modern neuroscientific evidence. To Eagleman, it is damaging to entertain the
illusion that a person can make a single decision that is somehow, suddenly,
independent of their physiology and history. He describes what scientists have learned
from brain damaged patients, and offers the case of a school teacher who exhibited
escalating pedophilic tendencies on two occasions—each time as results of growing
tumors. Eagleman also warns that less attractive people and minorities tend to get
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longer sentencing—all of which he sees as symptoms that more science is needed in
the legal system.
Derk Pereboom defends a skeptical position about free will he calls hard
incompatibilism. In his view, we cannot have free will if our actions are causally
determined by factors beyond our control, or if our actions are indeterministic events—if
they happen by chance. Pereboom conceives of free will as the control in action
required for moral responsibility in the sense involving deserved blame and praise,
punishment and reward. While he acknowledges that libertarian agent causation, the
capacity of agents as substances to cause actions without being causally determined by
factors beyond their control, is still a possibility, he regards it as unlikely against the
backdrop of the most defensible physical theories. Without libertarian agent causation,
Pereboom thinks the free will required for moral responsibility in the desert-involving
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sense is not in the offing. However, he also contends that by contrast with the
backward-looking, desert-involving sense of moral responsibility, forward-looking
senses are compatible with causal determination. For instance, causally determined
agents who act badly might justifiably be blamed with the aim of forming faulty
character, reconciling impaired relationships, and protecting others from harm they are
apt to cause.
Pereboom proposes that a viable criminal jurisprudence is compatible with the denial of
deserved blame and punishment. His view rules out retributivist justifications for
punishment, but it allows for incapacitation of dangerous criminals on the analogy with
quarantine of carriers of dangerous diseases. Isolation of carriers of the Ebola virus can
be justified on the ground of the right to defend against threat, a justification that does
not reference desert. Pereboom contends that the analogy holds for incapacitation of
dangerous criminals. He also argues that the less serious the threat, the more moderate
the justifiable method of incapacitation; for certain crimes only monitoring may be
needed. In addition, just as we should do what we can, within reasonable bounds, to
cure the carriers of the Ebola virus we quarantine, so we should aim to rehabilitate and
reintegrate the criminals we incapacitate. Pereboom also proposes that given hard
incompatibilism, punishment justified as general deterrence may be legitimate when the
penalties don't involve undermining an agent's capacity to live a meaningful, flourishing
life, since justifying such moderate penalties need not invoke desert.
Some forms of compatibilism suggest the term free will should only be used to mean
something more like liberty.
Compatibilists contend that even if determinism were true, it would still be possible for
us to have free will. The Hindu text The Bhagavad Gitaoffers one very early
compatibilist account. Facing the prospect of going to battle against kinsmen to whom
he has bonds, Arjuna despairs. Krishna attempts to assuage Arjuna's anxieties. He
argues that forces of nature come together to produce actions, and it is only vanity that
causes us to regard ourselves as the agent in charge of these actions. However,
Krishna adds this caveat: "... [But] the Man who knows the relation between the forces
of Nature and actions, witnesses how some forces of Nature work upon other forces of
Nature, and becomes [not] their slave..." When we are ignorant of the relationship
between forces of Nature, we become passive victims of nomological facts. Krishna's
admonition is intended to get Arjuna to perform his duty (i.e., fight in the battle), but he
is also claiming that being a successful moral agent requires being mindful of the wider
circumstances in which one finds oneself. Paramahansa Yogananda also said,
"Freedom means the power to act by soul guidance, not by the compulsions of desires
and habits. Obeying the ego leads to bondage; obeying the soul brings liberation."
In the Western tradition, Baruch Spinoza echoes the Bhagavad Gita's point about
agents and natural forces, writing "men think themselves free because they are
conscious of their volitions and their appetite, and do not think, even in their dreams, of
the causes by which they are disposed to wanting and willing, because they are
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ignorant [of those causes]." Krishna is hostile to the influence of passions on our rational
faculties, speaking up instead for the value of heeding the dictates of one's own nature:
"Even a wise man acts under the impulse of his nature. Of what use is
restraint?" Spinoza similarly identifies the taming of one's passions as a way to extricate
oneself from merely being passive in the face of external forces and a way toward
following our own natures.
the property of
that the idea of
may be "a
that a sense of
does not operate or evolve universally among humankind. He argues that it was absent
in the successful civilization of the Iroquois.
In recent years, research in experimental philosophy has explored whether people's
untutored intuitions about determinism and moral responsibility are compatibilist or
incompatibilist. Some experimental work has included cross-cultural studies. However,
the debate about whether people naturally have compatibilist or incompatibilist intuitions
has not come out overwhelmingly in favor of one view or the other, finding evidence for
both views. For instance, when people are presented with abstract cases that ask if a
person could be morally responsible for an immoral act when they could not have done
otherwise, people tend to say no, or give incompatibilist answers. When presented with
a specific immoral act that a specific person committed, people tend to say that that
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person is morally responsible for their actions, even if they were determined (that is,
people also give compatibilist answers).
The neuroscience of free will investigates various experiments that might shed light on
When people attribute moral responsibility, they usually attribute it to individual moral
agents. However, Joel Feinberg, among others, has argued that corporations and other
groups of people can have what is called ‘collective moral responsibility’ for a state of
affairs. For example, when South Africa had an apartheid regime, the country's
government might have been said to have had collective moral responsibility for the
violation of the rights of non-European South Africans.
Lack of Sense of Responsibility of Psychopaths
One of the attributes defined for psychopathy is "failure to accept responsibility for own
The emergence of automation, robotics and related technologies prompted the
question, 'Can an artificial system be morally responsible?'  The question has a
closely related variant, 'When (if ever) does moral responsibility transfer from its human
creator(s) to the system?'.
The questions arguably adjoin with but are distinct from machine ethics, which is
concerned with the moral behavior of artificial systems. Whether an artificial system's
behavior qualifies it to be morally responsible has been a key focus of debate.
Arguments That Artificial Systems Cannot Be Morally Responsible
Batya Friedman and Peter Kahn Jr posited that intentionality is a necessary condition
for moral responsibility, and that computer systems as conceivable in 1992 in material
and structure could not have intentionality.
Arthur Kuflik asserted that humans must bear the ultimate moral responsibility for a
computer's decisions, as it is humans who design the computers and write their
programs. He further proposed that humans can never relinquish oversight of
Frances Grodzinsky et al. considered artificial systems that could be modelled as finite
state machines. They posited that if the machine had a fixed state transition table, then
it could not be morally responsible. If the machine could modify its table, then the
machine's designer still retained some moral responsibility.
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Patrick Hew argued that for an artificial system to be morally responsible, its rules for
behaviour and the mechanisms for supplying those rules must not be supplied entirely
by external humans. He further argued that such systems are a substantial departure
from technologies and theory as extant in 2014. An artificial system based on those
technologies will carry zero responsibility for its behaviour. Moral responsibility is
apportioned to the humans that created and programmed the system.
(A more extensive review of arguments may be found in.)
Arguments That Artificial Systems Can
Be Morally Responsible
Colin Allen et al. proposed that an artificial
system may be morally responsible if its
behaviours are functionally indistinguishable
from a moral person, coining the idea of a 'Moral
Turing Test'. They subsequently disavowed the
Moral Turing Test in recognition of controversies
surrounding the Turing Test.
Andreas Matthias described a 'responsibility gap' where to hold humans responsible for
a machine would be an injustice, but to hold the machine responsible would challenge
'traditional' ways of ascription. He proposed three cases where the machine's behaviour
ought to be attributed to the machine and not its designers or operators. First, he
argued that modern machines are inherently unpredictable (to some degree), but
perform tasks that need to be performed yet cannot be handled by simpler means.
Second, that there are increasing 'layers of obscurity' between manufacturers and
system, as hand coded programs are replaced with more sophisticated means. Third, in
systems that have rules of operation that can be changed during the operation of the
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VIII. The Declaration of Human
Rights and Responsibilities
The Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities (DHDR) was
written for reinforcing the implementation of human rights under the auspices of
the UNESCO and the interest of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and was
proclaimed in 1998 "to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights"(UDHR) in the city of Valencia. Therefore, it is also known as the
Considering that the major challenge for this new century is the effective and efficient
realisation of human rights for all people, and that at the same time is needed that all
members of the human family strive for its fulfilment, the DHDR formulates
related duties and responsibilities for our current interdependence. Its preamble states
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categorically: The effective enjoyment and implementation of human rights and
fundamental freedoms is inextricably linked to the assumption of the duties and
responsibilities implicit in those rights.
After fifty years of the adoption of the UDHR and following human rights instruments,
the point of departure of the DHDR Preamble is the shared concern regarding the lack
of political will for enforcing globally human rights. Moreover, the DHDR takes into
account the new challenges of the global scenario for translating semantically rights into
duties and responsibilities. “Recognising the changes that new technologies, scientific
development and the process of Mondialisation have brought about, and aware of the
need to address their impact upon and potential consequences for human rights and
fundamental freedoms“, states in its Preamble.
Its 12 chapters and 41 articles can be compared with the human rights such as
formulated in the UDHR and recent initiatives that reflect a similar preoccupation for the
formulation of duties and responsibilities, such as the United Nations Millennium
Declaration, the Statute of Rome, the Global Compact, The Earth Charter, the Kyoto
Protocol, and UNESCO declarations and conventions.
The drafting of the declaration has been the result of the committed and disinterested
work of a group of experts integrated by Nobel laureates - Joseph Rotblat, Wole
Soyinka and Dario Fo -, scientists, artists and philosophers representing all the regions
of the world –among them, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Richard Falk, Ruud
Lubbers, Lord Frank Judd, Sergey Kapitsa, Jakob von Uexküll, Fernando Savater-, and
the judicious chairmanship of Richard Goldstone from South Africa and among its
members. This process was inspired by the need –in words of Justice Goldstone- of the
transition from a “formal equality” to a “substantial equality, with a shared concern of the
situation of millions of ignored and marginalised people in our globalised world: “the
recognition of human rights is insufficient, … if such so rights are to be realized it is
necessary that they are enforceable...
There must be a duty on all relevant authorities and individuals to enforce those rights.”
With a convergent perspective, Norberto Bobbio has entirely supported the initiative and
the text of the DHDR, in particular taking into account the main concern for humanity of
reinforcing the international systems. In that context he has established an interesting
comparison between the transition from “moral rights” to “legal rights” and the need to
transform “moral duties” into “legal duties” (See: Norberto Bobbio, Declaration of Human
Duties and Responsibilities, page 98).
This Declaration proposes comprehensively the implicit system of duties and
responsibilities contained in our human rights systems, in particular that enshrined in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and in subsequent international
human rights instruments and establishes consequently their bearers.
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The DHDR Chapter I: The General Provisions
In the DHDR Article 1 “duty” and “responsibility” are defined for the purpose of the
declaration: "duty" means an ethical or moral obligation; and "responsibility", an
obligation that is legally binding under existing international law. The DHDR explains in
details the complexity of the exercise of responsibilities. The bearers are the members
of the global community that have collective, as well as individual duties and
responsibilities, to promote universal observance of human rights and fundamental
freedoms. “Global community" means both States and non-States actors: international,
regional and sub-regional intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental
organisations, public and private sector (trans)national corporations, other entities of
civil society, peoples, communities and individuals taken as a collective.
The DHDR reflects
the gamma of both
states and nonstates
have to be mutual
of duties and
the contrary, the UN
document of the
focused primarily on
is shared and
/heads of State and
recognize that, in
addition to our
our individual societies, we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of
human dignity, equality and equity at the global level. As leaders we have a duty
therefore to all the world’s people…”
The DHDR Article 2 is dedicated to postulate exhaustively the bearers of duties and
responsibilities: “Members of the global community have collective, as well as individual
duties and responsibilities, to promote universal respect for and observance of human
rights and fundamental freedoms.…” This declaration considers the existence of
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collective responsibilities inside the limits traced by the universally recognized rights,
with the implicit consequences of accountability that would be fairly distributed. The
DHDR addresses simultaneously the responsibilities of individuals and groups. It states:
“As the holders of human rights and fundamental freedoms, all individuals, peoples and
communities in the exercise of their rights and freedoms, have the duty and
responsibility to respect those of others, and a duty to strive for the promotion and
observance thereof”. This statement continues appropriately the way initiated by the
UDHR in Article 29 and reiterates the interaction of duties, responsibilities and rights of
the International Covenants on Human Rightsof 1966.
DHDR Chapter 2: The Right to Life and Human Security
Most of the titles of the DHDR chapters enunciate a right or fundamental freedom that
will be the thematic focus of the related duties and responsibilities. Chapter 2 begins the
list of duties and responsibilities with the right to life and human security, rights to be
secure for the present and also future generations in the awareness that for the first
time in human history the humankind survival is in peril due to human action. Following
the UDHR Article 3 “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”; this
chapter draws our attention to the intergenerational responsibility.
The DHDR Article 3 is dedicated to the duty and responsibility to protect the life of every
member of the human family and ensure the survival of both present and future
generations. That means “to take reasonable steps to help others whose lives are
threatened, or who are in extreme distress or need”. A key element of the formulation of
the DHDR has been the present duty and responsibility for the potential consequences
of our actions for the future generations. “The rights of these future generations are the
duties of present generations” summarises correctly Federico Mayor, the then Director
General UNESCO. Therefore, the right to peace and the right to live in a balanced
ecological environment have to be recognized and guaranteed. In a broader sense, the
Earth Charter, a declaration of principles for a sustainable world, emphasises the
urgency of sharing responsibility for caring for the community of life, including the wellbeing
of human family.
The DHDR Article 4 enunciates the duty and responsibility to promote collective security
and a culture of peace of all members of the global community. War and conflict
prevention, fostering international peace, global security and cooperation are needed for
this purpose. The responsibility of States, according to UN Chapter 7, is underlined and
also their duty strengthening mediation, conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding
mechanisms and peace-keeping capacities.
The DHDR Article 5 is dedicated to the duty and responsibility to promote rapid and
effective disarmament in the interests of peace. Primarily the States are in charge of
reducing military expenditure in favour of human development, and together with no-
States actors to carry our nuclear disarmament, to cease any production or use of all
chemical and biological weapons, and use of landmines.
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The Duty to intervene to prevent gross human rights violations is stated in the DHDR
Article 6 that means the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes
and other gross or systematic human rights abuses in all circumstances. States are
mainly in charge of preventing and also punishing such violations, and there is also a
collective duty of the States to intervene in the case where individual State fails to
prevent such abuses. UN Chapter 7 remains general framework for this responsibility.
For defining gross human rights violations and the need of prevention and punishment
this chapter has been inspired by the Rome Statute that was adopted some months
before this Declaration was finalized.
The DHDR Article 7 enunciates the duty and responsibility unconditionally and in all
circumstances to respect international humanitarian law during times of armed conflict.
This law, commonly infringed, means for the government forces and insurgents, military
or paramilitary forces the obligation to refrain from committing acts of genocide; crimes
against humanity, and war crimes, as mass killing, torture or rape.
The focus of DHDR Article 8 is the duty and responsibility of humanitarian assistance
and intervention to those in need. In a globalised world with millions of displaced
people, it is claimed for the adequate provision of food, shelter, health care and other
essential requirements for survival to ensure the right to life for everyone on the world.
The DHDR Article 9 finishes this chapter with the duty and responsibility to protect and
promote a safe, stable and healthy environment, promoting respect, protection and
preservation of the uniqueness and diversity of all forms of life. An adequate use of
resources avoiding excessive exploitation and consumption, and a collaborative
scientific research and exchange of information are required. This article promotes
similarly to the Kyoto Protocol, an international and legally binding agreement to reduce
greenhouse gases emissions worldwide, an urgent change of attitude towards the
environment. This duty for the present and future generations has already been
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confirmed by a broad scientific consensus on the existence of climate change and the
DHDR Chapter 3: Human Security and An Equitable International Order
The DHDR Article 10 emphasises the duty and responsibility to promote an equitable
international order for the universal enjoyment of sustainable human, economic, social,
cultural, political, scientific and technological development and equitably participation in
the decision-making processes for an interdependent and technologically well equipped
world, providing an extensive vision of the general formulation of the UDHR Article 28:
“Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms
set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized”. The DHDR statements are
categorical: “Economic policies and development should not be pursued at the expense
of human rights or social development” (6), “Economic and social development shall not
be pursued at the expense of the environment and natural resources” (7), and “As
sovereign and equal members of the international community, all States have the right
to participate fully, equitably and effectively in international and global institutions and
decision-making processes…(8)” Coincidentally to the DHDR proposals the “millennium
development goals” of the MD set an influential agenda for a global partnership to fight
poverty, establishing shared goals for a better world by 2015. Their fulfilment is
measurable indicated by a progress at quantitative level.
Following the previous article, the DHDR Article 11 enunciates the duty to alleviate
usurious debt that would endanger human lives and impede economic and social
This Chapter continues with the DHDR Article 12 dedicated to the duty and
responsibility to promote safe, responsible and equitable scientific and technological
development for the benefit of all humankind. The UNESCO spirit of encouraging
universally intellectual and moral solidarity is emphasised, in particular taking into
account the condition of the lesser scientifically advanced States. In particular this
article has received a good reception by several scientists and related people. Neutrality
of science appears today as an illusion, in particular considering formerly scientific
advances such as in genetics or cybernetics. This DHDR approach reinforces fully the
importance of the recent UNESCO ethical documents for biosciences, and also other
efforts for codifying ethical principles for the use of science.
The DHDR Article 13 enunciates duties and responsibilities of public and private sector
corporations, indicating as common criteria the respect for sovereignty of host countries
and simultaneously fully respect and promotion of universal human rights and
international labour standards. For having an ethical code of the corporations and for
promoting a more sustainable and inclusive global economy, the then UN General
Secretary, Kofi Annan, has proposed the Global Compact, an international initiative
bringing companies together with UN agencies, labour and civil society to support
universal environmental and social principles, that was finally launched in 2000.
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The DHDR Article 14 enunciates the duty and responsibility to prevent and punish
international and organised crime as a shared task of the members of the global
community. This article also has the innovative approach of global cooperation of the
Statute of Rome, for combating of international crimes, transnational crimes and
organised crime and assisting international criminal tribunals.
The focus of the DHDR Article 15 is the duty and responsibility to eradicate corruption
and build an ethical society in both the public and private sectors, implementing codes
of conduct and training programmes, and promoting accountability, transparency public
awareness of the harm caused by corruption. This emphasis in code of ethics was also
encouraged by the Global Compact, in particular for the private sector.
DHDR Chapter 4: Meaningful Participation In Public Affairs
The DHDR Article 16 expresses the duty and responsibility to ensure meaningful
participation in public affairs, for ensuring that the authority of government is based
upon the will of the people and the rule of law.
This promoted participation reiterates the universal right to take part in the government
of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives of the UDHR Article 21
at different levels, in local, national and global governance.
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DHDR Chapter 5: Freedom of Opinion, Expression, Assembly, Association and
Following the content of the UDHR Article 19 on the right to freedom of opinion and
expression, the DHDR Article 17 reformulates the duty and responsibility to respect and
ensure freedom of opinion, expression, and the media, providing concrete measures for
the world today, affirming the pursuit of truth as unhindered, and condemning any
degrading treatment of individuals and the presentation of violence as entertainment.
And Article 17 also insists that "the media and journalists have a duty to report honestly
and accurately to avoid incitement of racial, ethnic or religious violence or hatred. (see:
Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)
The DHDR Article 18 establishes duties and responsibilities concerning information and
communications technologies with the aim of ensuring universal access to basic
communication and information infrastructure and services. Similarly, UNESCO has
already made a recommendation on information promoting universal access to
Complementing the UDHR Article 20 on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
association the DHDR Article 19 enunciates the duty and responsibility to take all
necessary steps to ensure the substantive realisation of the rights to free assembly and
freedom of association.
Finally, the DHDR Article 20, following the UDHR Article 18 on the right to freedom of
thought, conscience and religion, formulates the related duty and responsibility to
respect and ensure freedom of religion, belief and conscience, and of having or not
having a religion or belief.
DHDR Chapter 6: The Right to Personal and Physical Integrity
The DHDR Article 21 focused on formulating the duty and responsibility to respect and
ensure the physical, psychological and personal integrity of all members of the human
family in all circumstances, including in situations of armed conflict, reformulate the
UDHR articles 10-12 dedicated to the rights to personal integrity and respect for privacy.
The DHDR Article 22 enunciates the duty and responsibility to take all necessary
measures to respect and ensure the right to personal liberty and physical security, in
first place by the States, preventing arbitrary arrest and detention and ensuring that all
arrests and detentions are carried out in accordance with universally recognised
standards of fairness and due process.
The DHDR Article 23 emphasises today the duty and responsibility to prohibit and
prevent slavery and institutions and practices similar to slavery and slave-like practices
including child prostitution, child exploitation, enforced prostitution, debt bondage,
serfdom, and other forms of enforced labour inconsistent with international law,
punishing such practices; instituting effective controls to prevent the illegal trafficking of
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persons; creating greater public awareness through education of the human rights
abuses associated with such practices. The UDHR Article 4 states that “no one shall be
held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their
forms”. Today slavery is still not eradicated from the world, although universally
The DHDR Article 24 enunciates the duty and responsibility to condemn torture and to
take all necessary measures to prevent torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
or punishment, declaring criminal and punishing all acts of torture, cruel and inhuman
and degrading treatment or punishment, enforcing strict controls over places and
conditions of custody of persons deprived of their liberty. This enunciation specifies the
duty for achieving the content of UDHR Article 5: “No one shall be subjected to torture
or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
DHDR Article 25: The duty and responsibility to condemn and to prevent and eradicate
enforced disappearances declaring criminal and punishing all acts of forced
disappearances, ensuring that persons deprived of their liberty are only held in officially
recognised places of detention, and that they have adequate access to judicial officers,
legal representation, medical personnel and family members during the course of their
DHDR Chapter 7: Equality
After trying to meet the major global challenges of our interdependent world, that are
affecting today humankind as a whole. The DHDR Chapter 7 rethinks the principle of
equality, such as states in the first UDHR articles. With a similar approach the UNESCO
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has already approved two meaningful documents promoting cultural diversity, the
UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) and the Convention on the
Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005). The DHDR
Article 26 enunciates in general the duty to respect, ensure and promote the right to
equal treatment and to eradicate discrimination in all its forms.
The DHDR Article 27 states the duty and responsibility for the States, in primary place,
to respect and ensure the substantive equality of every member of human family, not
only ensuring equality before the law, but also taking positive action to prevent direct or
In the DHDR Article 28 is enunciated the duty and responsibility to ensure substantive
racial and religious equality, that means to ensure the effective enjoyment of all human
rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination on the basis of race, religion or
ethnicity, and to condemn all forms of racial and religious discrimination and respect
racial, ethnic and religious diversity; promoting equal opportunities for all.
The DHDR Article 29 formulates the duty and responsibility to ensure sex and gender
equality and the recognition of women's rights as human rights. In particular the States
have to ensure the effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms
without discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, promoting the equality in the
representation and participation of women in the public and political life, the eradication
of cultural, religious and social practices which discriminate against women; the
economic empowerment of women and the recognition of the full legal capacity of
The DHDR Article 30 is dedicated to the duty and responsibility to ensure the
substantive equality of persons with a disability, and to ensure the enjoyment and
exercise of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination on the
basis of disability.
Some progress towards the accomplishment of this duty can be observed at
international level. In March 2006, the UN Programme on Disability has been
consolidated into the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
DHDR Chapter 8: Protection of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples
Reinforcing the fulfilment of equality, the aim of the Chapter 8 is to emphasise the need
for protection of minorities and indigenous peoples. Both the global community and the
States are considered by this Declaration as the major responsible, collectively and
individually for ensuring the rights of these vulnerable groups.
The DHDR Article 31 formulates the duty and responsibility to respect and protect the
existence, identity and rights of national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities,
having the States a primary duty and responsibility to take adequate measures. The
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above referred efforts of the UNESCO for protecting the value of cultural diversity and
cultural expressions are a reflection of this obligation.
The DHDR Article 32 enunciates the duty and responsibility to respect, protect and
promote the rights of indigenous peoples, in particular their right to preserve, maintain
and develop their identities and to protect their means of livelihood, in a general context
of respect of universal human rights. Indigenous rights are diversely protected at
national level, but it is much needed that the international community assumes
collectively their responsibility. It is also expected that the proposed declaration on the
rights of indigenous peoples will be again considered for approval in September 2007
by the UN General Assembly in order to protect these rights universally.
DHDR Chapter 9: Rights of The Child And The Elderly
The chapter 9 deals also with the implementation of the principle of equality taking into
account the primary responsibilities of the States for the children and elderly rights.
The DHDR Article 33 emphasises the duty and responsibility to respect, protect and
promote the rights of the child, following the content of the almost universally ratified
UN Convention on the Right of the Child (1989) and aware, that although this excellent
document is shared broadly by the international community, today million of children are
still innocent victims of armed conflict, extreme poverty and hunger.
The DHDR Article 34 is dedicated to the formulation of the duty and responsibility to
promote and enforce the rights and wellbeing of the elderly, trying to ensure the full and
effective enjoyment by elderly people of all human rights and fundamental freedoms
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without discrimination on the basis of age, and to respect the well-being, dignity and
physical and personal integrity of the elderly. Although major efforts are being made by
the United Nations, such as the International Year of Older Persons (1999) and the
formulation UN Principles addressing the independence, participation, care, selffulfillment
and dignity of older persons, and regional and national efforts, it does not
exist by now a recognised framework for securing their rights. Therefore, the DHDR
constitutes a very interesting contribution for enforcing the rights of the elderly.
DHDR Chapter 10: Work, Quality of Life and Standard of Living
The DHDR Chapter 10 complements the system of duties and responsibilities related to
the right to work, quality of life and standard of living. For doing that, the DHDR take into
account at the same time, the responsibility of the States and the shared responsibility
of the world community in the context of the global interdependence.
The DHDR Article 35 formulates the duty and responsibility to promote the right to justly
remunerated work, following considerately the UDHR Article 23. Measures such
adopting policies designed to promote productive work; ensuring employment security,
in particular protection against arbitrary or unfair dismissal; and ensuring equality of
opportunity and conditions of work, are proposed by the DHDR.
The DHDR Article 36 emphasises the postponed duty and responsibility to promote
quality of life and an adequate standard of living for all. Although in the UDHR Article 22
it states the States obligation of fulfilling “the economic, social and cultural rights
indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality”, today our
interdependent world is not free from hunger and there is not universal access to
adequate food and clean water for everyone. The DHDR reiterates the shared
responsibility for eradicating extreme poverty from the world, in particular if we consider
the sufficiency of material resources for meeting this challenge. Similarly, but with a
more pragmatic approach, the Millennium Development Goals (2000) establishes an
intergovernmental agreement for realising globally human rights. These transitional
goals indicate indubitably the correct course for implementing human rights in a
continuous process with measurable criteria. However, it would be positive to promote a
dialogue on the achievement and evolution of the achievement of those goals with the
help of this systematised view on universal duties and responsibilities.
DHDR Chapter 11: Education, Arts and Culture
The DHDR Chapter 11 is dedicated to formulate duties and responsibilities on the
promotion of education, arts and culture, major topics of the UNESCO, such as the
programmes “education for all” and its various instruments for securing adequate
conditions for education and artistic and cultural activities.
The DHDR Article 37 enunciates the duty and responsibility to promote and enforce
the right to education, taking into account that illiteracy still affects millions of people in
Page 104 of 141
the developing countries and that is coincident with the already referred Millennium
The DHDR Article 38 emphasises the duty and responsibility to foster arts and culture
by the States and the global community in general, similarly to the UNESCO
Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities Chapter 12: Right To A Remedy
The DHDR finishes with the Chapter 12 dedicated to the right to a remedy where a
human right or fundamental freedom is threatened or has been violated.
The DHDR Article 39 enunciates the duty and responsibility, primarily of the States, to
provide for and enforce effective national judicial, administrative, legislative and
other remediesfor these cases, in similarity with the UDHR Article 8.
This Chapter proposes, finally, in article 40 the duty to monitor and implement the
Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities, by establishing tripartite councils
composed of State, civil society and private sector representatives in cooperation with
States, relevant civil society organisations, national, regional and international intergovernmental
The DHDR Article 41 with a non-derogation clause where it states: “Nothing in this
Declaration shall be interpreted as impairing or restricting the rights contained in
Page 105 of 141
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international and regional human
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Page 110 of 141
Accountability In Governance
Page 111 of 141
Accountability ensures actions and
decisions taken by public officials are
subject to oversight so as to
guarantee that government
initiatives meet their stated
objectives and respond to the needs
of the community they are meant to
be benefiting, thereby contributing
to better governance and poverty
Accountability is one of the cornerstones of
good governance; however, it can be
difficult for scholars and practitioners alike
to navigate the myriad of different types of
accountability. Recently, there has been a
growing discussion within both the
academic and development communities
about the different accountability typologies.
This Note outlines the present debate
focusing on the definition and substance of
different forms of accountability and
considers the key role that legislatures play
in ensuring accountability.
What is Accountability?
The notion of accountability is an
amorphous concept that is difficult to define
in precise terms. However, broadly
speaking, accountability exists when there is
a relationship where an individual or body,
and the performance of tasks or functions by
that individual or body, are subject to
another’s oversight, direction or request that
they provide information or justification for
Therefore, the concept of accountability
involves two distinct stages: answerability
and enforcement. Answerability refers to
the obligation of the government, its
agencies and public officials to provide
information about their decisions and
actions and to justify them to the public and
those institutions of accountability tasked
with providing oversight. Enforcement
suggests that the public or the institution
responsible for accountability can sanction
the offending party or remedy the
contravening behavior. As such, different
institutions of accountability might be
responsible for either or both of these stages.
Why is Accountability Important
Evaluating the ongoing effectiveness of
public officials or public bodies ensures that
they are performing to their full potential,
providing value for money in the provision
of public services, instilling confidence in
the government and being responsive to the
community they are meant to be serving.
What types of Accountability?
The concept of accountability can be
classified according to the type of
accountability exercised and/ or the person,
group or institution the public official
answers to. The present debate as to the
content of different forms of accountability
is best conceptualized by reference to
opposing forms of accountability. As such
the main forms of accountability are
described below in reference to their
opposing, or alternate, concept.
Horizontal vs. Vertical Accountability
The prevailing view is that institutions of
accountability, such as parliament and the
judiciary, provide what is commonly termed
horizontal accountability, or the capacity of
a network of relatively autonomous powers
(i.e., other institutions) that can call into
question, and eventually punish, improper
ways of discharging the responsibilities of a
given official. In other words, horizontal
accountability is the capacity of state
institutions to check abuses by other public
agencies and branches of government, or the
requirement for agencies to report sideways.
Alternatively, vertical accountability is the
means through which citizens, mass media
and civil society seek to enforce standards of
good performance on officials.
While parliament is typically considered as a
key institution in constructs of horizontal
accountability, it is also important in vertical
accountability. Citizens and civil society
groups can seek the support of elected
representatives to redress grievances and
intervene in the case of inappropriate or
inadequate action by government. In
addition, through the use of public hearings,
committee investigations and public
petitioning, parliament can provide a vehicle
for public voice and a means through which
citizens and civic groups can question
government and seek parliamentary
sanctioning where appropriate.
Political versus Legal Accountability
Parliament and the judiciary act as
horizontal constitutional checks on the
power of the executive. The role of these
two institutions can be further delineated in
that parliament holds the executive
politically accountable, whilst the judiciary
holds the executive legally accountable.
These classifications stem from the fact
parliament is a political institution, while the
judiciary can only adjudicate on legal issues.
Together, they provide ongoing oversight in
order to keep the government accountable
throughout its term in office. They may also
be aided by other institutions, such as
supreme audit institutions, anti-corruption
commissions, ombuds offices and human
rights institutes. These secondary
‘autonomous institutions of accountability’
are typically designed to be independent of
the executive; in the case of supreme audit
institutions (in ‘Westminster parliamentary
systems’), anti-corruption commissions and
ombuds offices they often report to
parliament while in the cases of supreme
audit institutions in Francophone countries
and human rights institutes, they may be part
of the judiciary.
Political accountability usually manifests
itself in the concept of individual ministerial
responsibility, which is the cornerstone of
the notion of responsible government (see
Another School of Thought: Horizontal
versus Vertical Accountability
A minority of commentators diverge in their
opinion as to what constitutes horizontal and
vertical accountability. An alternate
conception of horizontal and vertical
accountability relies on the relationship
between parties to determine whether one
party exercises horizontal or vertical
accountability over the other. In instances
where there is a classic top-down, principalagent
relationship, whereby the principal
delegates to the agent, the agent is
accountable to their direct superiors in the
chain-of-command and this constitutes a
form of vertical accountability. For instance
the public official answers to the
department/ agency minister, the department
answers to the minister, the minister answers
to parliament (in particular in parliamentary
systems), and parliament answers to
Parliament is again a key actor. In terms of
holding government officials to account,
parliament is the principal and the official
the agent. Parliament, as principal, requires
the government and its officials, as agents,
to implement the laws, policies and
programs it has approved – and holds the
government and officials to account for their
performance in this regard.
Parliament is also an agent, in that the
electorate (the principal) elects legislators to
enact laws and oversee government actions
on their behalf. The electorate then hold
legislators to account at election time and, in
a few jurisdictions, through recall, where
dissatisfied voters can recall their elected
representative and vote for an alternative.
The absence of the direct principal-agent
relationship relegates the accountability
relationship to one of horizontal
accountability or social accountability. In
order for there to be social or horizontal
accountability a hierarchical relationship is
generally lacking between actor and forum,
as are any formal obligations to render
The prevailing view of social accountability
is that it is an approach towards building
accountability that relies on civic
engagement, namely a situation whereby
ordinary citizens and/or civil society
organizations participate directly or
indirectly in exacting accountability. Such
accountability is sometimes referred to it as
society driven horizontal accountability.
The term social accountability is, in a sense,
a misnomer since it is not meant to refer to a
specific type of accountability, but rather to
a particular approach (or set of mechanisms)
for exacting accountability. Mechanisms of
social accountability can be initiated and
supported by the state, citizens or both, but
very often they are demand-driven and
operate from the bottom-up.
It is generally accepted that social
accountability mechanisms are an example
of vertical accountability. However, a
minority of commentators argue that, with
respect to social accountability, a
hierarchical relationship is generally lacking
between actor and forum, as are any formal
obligations to render account. Giving
account to various stakeholders occurs
basically on a voluntary basis with no
intervention on the part of the principal.
Therefore, social accountability would be a
form of horizontal accountability.
Social accountability initiatives are as varied
and different as participatory budgeting,
administrative procedures acts, social audits,
and citizen report cards which all involve
citizens in the oversight and control of
government. This can be contrasted with
government initiatives or entities, such as
citizen advisory boards, which fulfill public
Often overlooked in considerations of social
accountability is the role that legislators can
play in providing weight to such grass roots
accountability mechanisms. For example, a
Member of Parliament can represent the
concerns of his/her constituents by
questioning a Minister during Question
Period in Parliament or by requesting
information directly from a government
ministry or department.
The concept of diagonal accountability is far
from settled with two groups of
commentators adopting different definitions.
The literature does not support a
convergence of their ideas. Although, there
is conjecture as to what constitutes diagonal
accountability, the prevailing view is that
diagonal accountability entails vertical
accountability actors. Generally speaking
diagonal accountability seeks to engage
citizens directly in the workings of
horizontal accountability institutions. This
is an effort to augment the limited
effectiveness of civil society’s watch dog
function by breaking the state’s monopoly
over responsibility for official executive
The main principles of diagonal
• Participate in Horizontal Accountability
Mechanisms – Community advocates
participate in institutions of horizontal
accountability, rather than creating
distinct and separate institutions of
diagonal accountability. In this way,
agents of vertical accountability seek to
insert themselves more directly into the
• Information flow – Community
advocates are given an opportunity to
access information about government
agencies that would normally be limited
to the horizontal axis, for instance
internal performance reviews etc.
Furthermore, they have access to the
deliberations and reasons why
horizontal accountability institutions
make the decisions they do. Meanwhile,
community advocates bring first hand
experience about the performance of the
government agency to the accountability
• Compel Officials to Answer –
Community advocates co-opt the
horizontal accountability institution’s
authority to compel a government
agency to answer questions (as in the
example given above of an MP
questioning a Minister about issues of
concern to his/her constituents); and
• Capacity to Sanction – Community
advocates acquire the authority of the
horizontal accountability institution to
enforce the findings or influence elected
Some argue that civil society can strengthen
the effectiveness of horizontal accountability
institutions by pressuring existing agencies
to do their jobs more effectively. This type
of participation in accountability is not
direct action against wrongdoing, as with
vertical accountability, but rather societydriven
horizontal accountability, such as
citizen advisory boards that fulfill public
functions, like auditing government
expenditures or supervising procurement.
More generally, active citizens and civil
society groups can work with elected
representatives to enhance parliaments’
A minority of commentators diverge in their
opinion as to what constitutes diagonal
accountability. Some commentators suggest
administrative accountability, exercised
primarily through quasi-legal forums, such
as ombudsmen, auditors, and independent
inspectors reporting directly or indirectly to
parliament or the responsible minister, is a
form of independent and external
administrative and financial oversight and
control. This form of accountability is
different to the classic top-down/ principalagent
relationship because the administrative
accountability institution is not in a
hierarchical relationship to the public
officials and often do not have formal
powers to coerce public officials into
compliance. It is argued that these
administrative agents are auxiliary forums of
accountability that were instituted to help
the political principals control the great
variety of administrative agents and that
their accountability relations are, therefore, a
form of diagonal accountability.
Social Accountability versus Diagonal
Recently the World Bank argued that social
accountability is broad enough to encompass
mechanisms of diagonal accountability. It
was argued that diagonal accountability
mechanisms can also be considered a form
of social accountability.
Considering social accountability is not
meant to refer to a specific type of
accountability, but rather to a particular
approach for exacting accountability, it
might be a broader concept than diagonal
accountability. This lends weight to the idea
that diagonal accountability mechanisms
could be a component of the broader
approach of social accountability.
However, this is contrast to some
commentators who draw a sharp distinction
between social accountability and diagonal
accountability. They argue that the state is
often resistant to citizens poaching its
exclusive oversight domain, instead
encouraging new forms of social
accountability, which they dismiss as being
merely a form of outreach that provides an
opportunity for civil society to inform
government about public perception of
Parliaments are key actors in what has been
termed the ‘chain of accountability’. They
are, along with the judiciary, the key
institution of horizontal accountability, not
only in their own right but also as the
institution to which many autonomous
accountability institutions report. They are
the vehicle through which political
accountability is exercised. Along with civil
society organizations and the mass media,
they are also important institutions in
Newer concepts of accountability have
emerged: social accountability and diagonal
accountability. The former, defined as
‘society driven horizontal accountability’
seeks to provide direct answerability from
government to citizens; parliaments and
elected representatives are important
vehicles through which citizens and civic
groups can also extract enforcement. And –
no matter how defined – parliaments are one
of the institutions through which diagonal
accountability can be exercised.
Arroyo, D. & K. Sirker. 2005. Stocktaking of
Social Accountability Initiatives in the
Asia and Pacific Region. Washington DC:
WBI Working Paper
Bovens, M. 2005. “Public Accountability.”
In Ferlie, Ewan. Laurence E. Lynn, Jr. &
Christopher Pollitt (eds). The Oxford
Handbook of Public Management.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bovens, M. 2006. Analysing and Assessing
Public Accountability: A Conceptual
Framework. European Governance Papers
Cavill, S. & M. Sohail. 2004.
“Strengthening Accountability for Urban
Services.” Environment and Urbanization:
Goetz, A.M. & J. Gaventa. 2001. Bringing
Citizen Voice and Client Focus into
Service Delivery. Brighton, Sussex: IDS
Working Paper No.138
Goetz, A.M. & R. Jenkins. 2001. “Hybrid
Forms of Accountability: Citizen
Engagement in Institutions of Public-
Sector Oversight in India.” Public
Management Review: 3(3).
Malena, C; R. Forster & J. Singh. 2004.
Social Accountability: An Introduction to
the Concept and Emerging Practice.
Washington DC: World Bank Social
Development Papers: Participation and
Civic Engagement No.76.
McNeil, M. & T. Mumvuma. 2006.
Demanding Good Governance: A
Stocktaking of Social Accountability
Initiatives by Civil Society in Anglophone
Africa. Washington DC: WBI Working
World Bank. 2004. State-Society Synergy
for Accountability: Lessons for the World
Bank. Washington DC: World Bank
Working Paper No.30.
World Bank Institute, 2005. Social
Accountability in the Public Sector.
Washington DC: WBI Working Paper
This note was written by Rick Stapenhurst
(Senior Public Sector Management
Specialist, World Bank Institute) and Mitchell
O’Brien (Consultant, World Bank Institute).
Page 112 of 141
Accountability Transparency Participation and
Inclusion: A New Development Consensus
Page 113 of 141
PARTICIPATION, AND INCLUSION
A New Development Consensus?
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher
PARTICIPATION, AND INCLUSION
A New Development Consensus?
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher
The Carnegie Endowment gratefully acknowledges the support from the Ford Foundation, the
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the UK Department for International
Development that helped make the writing and publication of this paper possible. The
opinions expressed in the paper are the responsibility of the authors alone.
© 2014 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. All rights reserved.
Carnegie does not take institutional positions on public policy issues; the views
represented herein are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of
Carnegie, its staff, or its trustees.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means without permission in writing from the Carnegie Endowment. Please
direct inquiries to:
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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P: +1 202 483 7600
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This publication can be downloaded at no cost
About the Authors
Bridging the Three Rivers of Politics in Development 6
An Incomplete Bridge 10
One Agenda or Several? 11
The Problem of Superficial Application 12
The Unsettled Intrinsic Case 14
Divisions Over the Instrumental Case 16
The Larger Developmental Debate 18
Uncertain Commitment to International Initiatives 21
The Continuing Donor-Recipient Divide 23
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 34
About the Authors
Thomas Carothers is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace. He is the founder and director of the Democracy and Rule
of Law Program and oversees Carnegie Europe in Brussels.
Carothers is a leading authority on international support for democracy, rights,
and governance and on comparative democratization as well as an expert on
U.S. foreign policy. He has worked on democracy-assistance projects for many
public and private organizations and carried out extensive field research on
international aid efforts around the world. In addition, he has broad experience
in matters dealing with human rights, the rule of law, civil society building, and
think tank development in transitional and developing countries.
He is the author of six critically acclaimed books as well as many articles in
prominent journals and newspapers. Carothers has also worked extensively
with the Open Society Foundations (OSF), including currently as chair of the
OSF Think Tank Fund and previously as chair of the OSF Global Advisory
Board. He is an adjunct professor at the Central European University in
Budapest and was previously a visiting faculty member at Nuffield College,
Oxford University, and Johns Hopkins SAIS.
Saskia Brechenmacher is a first-year MALD candidate at the Fletcher School
of Law and Diplomacy. She studied political science and Slavic Studies at
Brown University and previously worked as a junior fellow in the Democracy
and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
and as a research analyst at Carnegie Europe.
The authors are grateful to Aislin Baker, Clarisa Bencomo, Diane de Gramont,
Noha El-Mikawy, Lu Ecclestone, Larry Garber, Micol Martini, Shiona
Ruhemann, Martin Tisne, and Ken Wollack for helpful comments on drafts of
this paper. Oren Samet-Marram provided useful research assistance.
Four key principles—accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion—have
in recent years become nearly universal features of the policy
statements and programs of international development organizations. Yet this
apparently widespread new consensus is deceptive: behind the ringing declarations
lie fundamental fissures over the value and application of these concepts.
Understanding and addressing these divisions is crucial to ensuring that the
four principles become fully embedded in international development work.
An Incomplete Bridge
• Accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion represent vital
embodiments of the opening to politics that occurred in development
work in the 1990s. They bridge three distinct practitioner communities
that emerged from this new direction—those focusing on governance, on
democracy, and on human rights.
• But consensus remains elusive. Democracy and human rights practitioners
generally embrace an explicitly political understanding of the four concepts
and fear technocratic or purely instrumentalist approaches. Governance
specialists often follow a narrower approach, applying the core principles
primarily to the quest for greater public sector effectiveness.
• Aid providers frequently present the four concepts as a unified agenda. Yet
in actual programming they may only pursue or prioritize selective parts of
the set, engendering tensions among the different principles.
Inconsistencies and Uncertainties
• Shallow practice. Aid organizations often treat the four principles as programmatic
boxes to be ticked rather than fundamental elements of their
work. Although these concepts evoke potentially transformative notions of
citizen empowerment, they risk being reduced in practice to limited forms
of citizen consultation or technocratic reforms that rely on simplistic theories
of developmental change.
• Debates about the place of the principles. Many aid practitioners remain
skeptical of treating accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion
as intrinsic to their conception of development. They worry that broadening
the development agenda on normative grounds will dilute the core
focus on poverty reduction and growth.
2 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
• Questions about impact. Evidence for the developmental impact of the
four principles is limited and inconclusive to date. Uncertainty about their
instrumental value is compounded by the unresolved broader debate over
the relationship between governance and economic development.
• Resistance on the recipient side. Many developing country governments
have rhetorically embraced the value of accountability, transparency,
participation, and inclusion and joined international initiatives aimed at
furthering these principles. However, the political will to translate such
commitments into substantive political reform is often lacking. Some governments
remain fiercely opposed to incorporating these principles into
the international development agenda, viewing them as entry points for
illegitimate political meddling.
If you are an unfamiliar visitor to an organization engaged in international
development assistance and unsure of the reception you will receive, there is a
surefire way to win over your hosts: tell them you believe that four key principles
are crucial for development—accountability, transparency, participation,
and inclusion. Your hosts will almost certainly nod enthusiastically, and declare
that their organization in fact prioritizes these very concepts as key tools in the
larger battle to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve sustained development.
This holds true no matter whether you are visiting a major bilateral or multilateral
aid agency, a foreign ministry engaged in development work, a transnational
nongovernmental organization, a private foundation, or any other of
the many groups that now make up the tremendously heterogeneous world of
international development aid.
These four concepts have become a ubiquitous feature of the policy statements
of countless aid organizations over the past few years. For example,
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s recent strategy on
democracy, human rights, and governance frames “greater citizen participation
and inclusion, and more accountable institutions and leaders” as its primary
high-level objectives, arguing that this framework will help “empower
reformers and citizens from the bottom up.” 1 The Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee affirms
that “there is growing consensus on the value of human rights principles—
such as participation, non-discrimination and accountability—for good and
sustainable development practice,” and defines effective states as “those that
. . . have open, transparent, accountable and inclusive political institutions.” 2
Similarly, in its 2007 Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy, the World
Bank asserts that “engaged local communities, a vibrant civil society, and a
transparent flow of information . . . support poverty reduction by helping to
hold governments accountable for delivering better services, creating jobs, and
improving living standards.” 3 The Swedish International Development Agency
(SIDA) goes as far as putting nondiscrimination, participation, openness and
transparency, and accountability forward as fundamental principles that “must
be applied consistently throughout Swedish aid.” 4
The four concepts do not only exist in policy documents. They are at the heart
of many recent high-profile initiatives, ranging from the Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Open Government Partnership (OGP)
to the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability and the
Making All Voices Count “grand challenge for development” funded by the
4 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
In the course of the past decade, the aid
community has increasingly emphasized the
importance of expanding recipient country
ownership over development processes through
greater donor accountability, transparency,
and multi-stakeholder engagement.
United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, USAID,
the Swedish government, the Open Society Foundations, and the Omidyar
Network, among others. And they are central elements of countless individual
aid programs and projects around the world, both as core objectives—such as
efforts to facilitate greater participation by women in political parties—and as
contributing elements to programs that have other primary goals, such as adding
a participatory component to a health reform program.
Besides serving as both means and ends of development programs, the four
principles also represent mainstays in the international discourse over relations
between donors and aid recipients as well as other stakeholders. In the course
of the past decade, the aid community has increasingly emphasized the importance
of expanding recipient country ownership over development processes
through greater donor accountability, transparency, and multi-stakeholder
engagement. The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness launched this
agenda by advocating for more inclusive partnerships between developed and
developing countries to better incorporate civil society and private sector actors,
and stressing the need to enhance “mutual accountability and transparency in
the use of development resources.” 5 Successor declarations at subsequent highlevel
forums on aid effectiveness in Accra and Busan further affirmed that
donors should engage in an “open and inclusive dialogue on development policies”
in recipient countries, allow greater participation of
local stakeholders in planning processes, and ensure that
aid is transparent and accountable to all citizens. 6
In short, an apparently powerful consensus has emerged
in the international development community around
incorporating accountability, transparency, participation,
and inclusion into work at the macro as well as micro
level. These principles enjoy strong appeal as inherently,
even unquestionably good things—basic ways of respecting
human dignity and individual autonomy. How could
anyone mount a principled objection to activities aimed at
achieving greater accountability by governments toward their people, greater
transparency by state institutions in their handling of public finances, active
participation by citizens in development processes that affect their well-being,
or meaningful inclusion of disadvantaged groups in socioeconomic life?
Contributing to this sense of intrinsic goodness is the post-ideological nature
of these concepts. They rise above the burgeoning arguments around the world
about the value of liberal democracy and whether it is the most effective and
desirable political system for every country. Chinese officials sparring ideologically
with their Western counterparts do not hesitate to question democratic
processes and institutions. But they are unlikely to argue that Chinese citizens
and businesses are better served by a government that is fundamentally
unaccountable to their interests and needs. Transparency and public participation
have in fact become popular themes in Chinese political discourse, with
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 5
former general secretary Hu Jintao himself stressing “the growing enthusiasm
of the people for participation in political affairs” and affirming the intent to
“improve the open administrative system in various areas and increase transparency
in government work.” 7
The four concepts also transcend ongoing debates within the development
community between conservative and left-of-center philosophies. Accountability,
for example, easily aligns with the emphasis that conservatives place on anticorruption
and the rule of law. Yet at the same time, it attracts developmentalists
on the left who underline the need to make government more responsive to disadvantaged
and marginalized groups. Similarly, conservatives
may see greater participation as an integral component
of small-government approaches in which citizens take up
roles that pared-down states no longer play. Those on the
left, on the other hand, often use participation as a synonym
for the grassroots mobilization of ordinary citizens against
entrenched power holders.
Proponents find in these four concepts not just intrinsic
value but, just as importantly, a natural instrumental logic.
State institutions that are accountable to their people will
use their resources constructively rather than misspend or
steal them. Greater governmental transparency will allow citizens to determine
where their political leaders are going astray and exert well-targeted pressure
to put them back on track. Increased public participation in governance processes
on the local and national levels will provide those institutions with direct
input on how to best respond to citizen needs and bring additional information
about blockages and inefficiencies into decisionmaking processes.
Moreover, the four concepts catch the zeitgeist of an aid world struggling to
adjust to a fundamental rebalancing of power between “the West and the rest,”
and the growing effacement of the traditional line between donor and recipient
countries as well as state and nonstate actors. The issues they encapsulate affect
not only developing societies; they are subjects of fierce debate and contestation
within the developed world as well—whether it is over the inadequate
economic and social inclusion of immigrant groups in the United States and
Europe, shortcomings of governmental transparency concerning electronic
surveillance of citizen communication, or declining rates of electoral and other
forms of political participation.
Of course, these are not the only enthusiasms to have blossomed in the international
aid world during the past several decades. But the agreement around
them appears to be unusually broad and its implications far reaching. Rather
than simply adding new elements to the international development agenda, the
consensus calls on donors to revise their approach to all areas of assistance. The
four principles together in effect form a new conventional wisdom about development,
one with interlinked normative and instrumental rationales and one
The four concepts catch the zeitgeist of an aid
world struggling to adjust to a fundamental
rebalancing of power between “the West and
the rest,” and the growing effacement of the
traditional line between donor and recipient
countries as well as state and nonstate actors.
6 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
that promises to bridge long-standing divides both within aid organizations as
well as between donors and recipients.
Yet behind the ringing policy declarations and the ubiquitous presence
of these concepts in programming lie a number of significant fissures. They
concern fundamental aspects of the agenda defined by these four concepts:
whether they really bridge longstanding ideological and operational divides
within the aid community, whether or not they represent a unified and coherent
agenda, and how deep the donor commitment to these concepts truly is in
practice. Moreover, uncertainty and disagreement persist both over whether
these principles are intrinsically valuable elements of aid policy and practice
and whether they do in fact help achieve economic development—a question
that remains closely tied to the larger debate surrounding the role of governance
in nurturing and sustaining economic growth. Lastly, despite a seeming
convergence around these values at the global level, many developing country
governments remain only superficially committed to their application, and
traditional rifts between donors and recipients over outside interventions in
domestic governance matters live on.
Identifying and understanding these fissures makes clear that the apparently
wide-reaching new consensus in development cooperation around the
normative and instrumental value of accountability, transparency, participation,
and inclusion remains less solid than enthusiasts of these concepts might
wish. Much more work lies ahead to turn these theoretically attractive principles
into consistent and effective practice.
Bridging the Three Rivers of
Politics in Development
Accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion have emerged as crucial
aid priorities and principles as part of the broader opening of the door to
politics in development work over the past twenty-five years. This opening was
driven by a change in thinking about development that occurred at major aid
institutions in the late 1980s—the realization that bad governance is often a
key driver of chronic underdevelopment, and that the donor emphasis on market
reform would only succeed if developing countries built capable, effective
state institutions. Developmentalists at the time framed this insight in politically
neutral-sounding terms as “good governance.” Yet by incorporating this
concept into mainstream development work, they inevitably recognized the
pressing need for greater donor attention to political institutions and processes.
The dramatically changed international political landscape opened the door
to politics in aid work in several additional ways. The end of the superpower
rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union weakened some of the
political constraints that had characterized much development work in the second
half of the twentieth century—chiefly the need for major Western donors
to maintain friendships with strategically useful partners in the developing
world in spite of their records of domestic repression. The U.S. and European
governments of course retained close military and trade relations with various
authoritarian governments for the sake of security and economic interests—
including, for example, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Yet in a number of places
no longer ensnared in a global ideological contest, such as sub-Saharan Africa,
they proved increasingly willing to raise problematic domestic political issues
with aid-receiving governments. In addition, the onset of a startling global
wave of democratization, which Western governments generally perceived to
be in their political and economic interest, prompted Western aid actors to find
new ways to support this trend. Providing politically related assistance quickly
emerged as a crucial tool in this regard.
The end of the global ideological schism as well as rapidly growing civil
society activism in many countries attempting democratic transitions also
brought about a greater international consensus on human rights frameworks
and their role as tools for social and political change. Some Western donor
governments that had previously emphasized only the political and civil sides
of human rights began giving greater attention to socioeconomic rights. This
emerging agreement in turn triggered heightened attention to human rights
issues and approaches as an integral part of development work. Human rights
advocates argued for disempowerment and exclusion to be understood both as
root causes and consequences of chronic poverty, and stressed that economic
growth should serve as a means rather than the end goal of human development.
8 Reflecting this emerging perspective, the Vienna Declaration issued
at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights emphasized that “democracy,
development, and human rights . . . are interdependent” and affirmed
that development efforts themselves should respect and enhance human rights,
rather than pursue economic prosperity at the expense of the latter. 9
As a result of these varied drivers of change, the development community
started to shed the apolitical mindset and technocratic habits that had characterized
it since the 1950s. Three new streams of assistance took hold, reflecting
the impetus toward a greater integration of politics into development:
aid to strengthen governance, to support democracy, and to advance human
rights. Governance quickly became a focus at many mainstream development
organizations. Democracy was taken on as a priority area by a smaller number,
initially USAID and several more specialized political aid organizations
that were funded by governments but at arm’s length from them, such as the
National Endowment for Democracy and various European political foundations.
Rights-based development became a growing preoccupation of several
northern European donors as well as a number of multilateral institutions,
especially within the United Nations family.
Although these three different streams all grew out of a greater attention to
political methods and goals in development work, they took shape as somewhat
separate areas of aid. Governance assistance aimed at strengthening core
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 7
8 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
institutions of public administration and financial management, and gradually
expanded to also cover service delivery. Democracy aid concentrated primarily
on assisting the formal processes and institutions regulating and shaping
political competition, such as elections, political parties, and parliaments.
And rights-based programming tried to define core socioeconomic areas—
like food, shelter, and education—in terms of rights-holders and duty-bearers
and to translate this conception into more forceful policy
attention to the power inequalities underlying core development
Public sector accountability and
These three new rivers of international aid were separated
not only by different programming foci, but also by
transparency emerged as crucial concepts
in the effort to reduce opportunities for
different philosophies of development and some degree
corruption and strengthen internal and of mutual distrust among their respective communities.
external monitoring mechanisms. Governance practitioners were often wary of emphasizing
rapid democratization in developing countries with weak
state institutions, afraid that premature political liberalization
might pave the way for fragmentation and populist pressures that would
undermine efforts to foster governance efficiency and effectiveness. Democracy
promoters in turn worried that governance programs emphasizing the strengthening
of central state institutions might reinforce anti-democratic governments
resistant to the distribution or alternation of power. The human rights community,
for its part, viewed the new democracy promotion cause with considerable
suspicion, worried that it might be the handmaiden of ideologically
driven political interventionism serving interests far removed from development.
And rights specialists were equally wary of governance assistance, which
they thought too often involved uncritical, supportive partnerships between
aid actors and abusive governments seeking to improve their economic performance
without addressing human rights concerns.
Governance work initially concentrated on public sector efficiency and competence,
with a programmatic focus on public expenditure management, civil
service reform, and privatization. Yet this narrow conception steadily broadened
to take on board the principles of accountability, transparency, participation,
and inclusion. This change occurred for multiple reasons. Starting in the
mid-1990s, the World Bank and other major donors began concentrating on
corruption—which many aid providers had traditionally avoided confronting
head on, viewing it as too politically sensitive—as a key obstacle to poverty
reduction. Public sector accountability and transparency emerged as crucial
concepts in the effort to reduce opportunities for corruption and strengthen
internal and external monitoring mechanisms.
The emergence in those years of transnational advocacy movements that
were focused on government transparency and accountability further pushed
the aid community to begin tackling these issues in their work. Transparency
International and other groups helped push anticorruption onto the agenda.
Nongovernmental groups in developed as well as developing countries led a
widening campaign for freedom of information that in many places produced
new laws and regulation guaranteeing citizens’ right of access to government
information. More recently, the global civil society push for open government
has further solidified attention to public sector transparency in domestic and
international policy circles.
The gradual shift from project aid toward budget support also reinforced
donor interest in accountability and transparency as prerequisites for aid effectiveness.
As donors channeled more assistance directly to central governments
to strengthen state capacity and country ownership, they put greater emphasis
on governance reforms that would ensure the responsible use of these resources.
In addition, frustration with the meager impact of the first wave of technical
assistance to improve government effectiveness pushed donors to broaden their
thinking about how institutional change might be achieved. Faced with the
recognition that technocratic inputs were not enough to overcome entrenched
resistance to reforms, they began to look for ways to encourage greater citizen
engagement, hoping that those groups suffering from the consequences of poor
governance might constitute a more effective driver of positive change.
The rising emphasis on the citizen side of the equation therefore naturally
prompted greater attention to accountability and participation. The United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was a leader in this area in the
early 2000s, pushing for the concept of democratic governance—by which it
meant the infusion of elements of accountability, transparency, participation,
and inclusion—as a fruitful formulation of a broadened governance agenda.
The 2004 World Development Report, Making Services Work for Poor People,
further specifically highlighted the importance of accountability in addressing
the catastrophic failure of service delivery to the world’s poorest people, and
pointed to citizen engagement and direct interaction with service providers as
a crucial part of the solution. It recommended, for example, that donors should
not only focus on channeling resources and technical assistance to underperforming
public education systems, but also support citizens in addressing local
challenges such as teacher absenteeism and bribery by monitoring performance
and directly engaging with responsible providers and officials.
This broadening created a bridge across some of the divisions between the governance
community on the one hand and the democracy and human rights communities
on the other. Democracy aid practitioners embraced accountability,
transparency, participation, and inclusion as intrinsic democratic values, viewing
their work on democratic elections, political parties, and parliaments as support
for these very same principles. The democracy community therefore felt that
developmentalists who were giving greater attention to the four principles were
simply catching up with progress it had already achieved. Similarly, those aid
practitioners pushing for greater donor attention to human rights frameworks
and instruments viewed the four concepts as core operational principles of a
human-rights-based approach to development. They supported their adoption
by mainstream aid organizations as crucial elements of good aid practice to be
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 9
10 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
included in aid planning, implementation, and evaluation. In particular, they
focused on reaching the most marginalized groups, deepening participation and
local control over development processes, and enhancing accountability structures
by drawing on international human rights norms and instruments.
An Incomplete Bridge
The apparent convergence among the governance, democracy, and human
rights communities is striking. Yet general agreement on the importance of
accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion has not fully bridged
the underlying divisions between these camps.
Ask governance specialists at one of the multilateral development banks or
major bilateral aid agencies whether they are engaged in aiding democracy
and they will likely insist that they are not. They will emphasize that they are
pursuing greater participation, transparency, accountability, and inclusion for
developmental rather than politically normative purposes and are not in the
business of trying to shape the political life of other countries. Democracy promotion,
in their view, remains a separate terrain, more ideological than governance
work, more about changing overall political systems than improving the
performance of state institutions and delivering economic growth. They may
note that they often carry out governance programs for decades in undemocratic
contexts such as Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, or Vietnam, without any intention
of changing the larger political direction of the country.
Democracy practitioners, meanwhile, highlight the political dimension
of each of the four concepts. Rather than focusing on social accountability
mechanisms that target the relationship between citizens and service providers,
they attempt to strengthen broader institutions and processes of political
accountability, such as regular and competitive elections and effective,
independent parliaments. When they work on participation, their focus is on
citizen involvement in local and national political processes rather than development
planning and programming. Similarly, they frame issues of inclusion
mostly in terms of political empowerment and representation rather than social
or economic marginalization. In other words, for this group, democratic institutions
such as well-functioning political parties, responsive parliaments, and
a legal framework that guarantees basic political and civil rights are the central
pistons of accountability, participation, and inclusion.
As a result, democracy practitioners are skeptical of governance programming
that skirts the political dimensions of these concepts. They worry that their
governance counterparts are inescapably inclined toward narrow and technocratic
interpretations of these principles that fail to take into account the broader
distribution of power in a society (although some aid programs billed as prodemocratic
fall into the same rut of technocratic efforts to improve the functioning
of state institutions, without challenging underlying power inequalities).
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 11
Divisions also persist between the governance and human rights communities.
Most major aid organizations working on governance reform remain wary of
casting accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion as rights rather
than desirable programming attributes or principles. Doing so, they believe,
would create rigidities in their own programmatic frameworks or in their consultations
with recipient governments. Rights entail legal
claims and commitments that may hinder tactical decisions
about modulating their pursuit of these principles based on Most major aid organizations working on
other priorities. The human rights community, on the other
governance reform remain wary of casting
hand, generally rejects the instrumental view of the four
concepts that dominates governance approaches. They fault
accountability, transparency, participation,
governance practitioners for interpreting principles such as and inclusion as rights rather than desirable
participation and inclusion in limited or partial ways, or programming attributes or principles.
deemphasizing them for the sake of other development priorities.
Some further dismiss the donor focus on governance
as just one part of the broader neoliberal agenda promoted by major development
organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in
alliance with local power holders—an agenda that, in their view, further marginalizes
the poor in the service of international economic and financial interests.
One Agenda or Several?
There is also disagreement over the extent to which the four principles actually
constitute a unified agenda. Aid providers typically present them as such,
grouping them together in policy documents as an apparently mutually reinforcing
set. And these principles do share a certain common ground—all of
them pertain to the interaction of states and their people, pointing toward a
greater role for citizens in the functioning of the state. Moreover, some natural
links do exist among them in practice. Accountability programs for example
often incorporate transparency as a constituent element while also relying
on citizen participation, such as support for local groups that seek to press a
particular government institution to be more responsive to public concerns.
Similarly, efforts to foster greater inclusion naturally connect to increased participation
by the targeted group.
Yet the links among the four principles are only partial. Some accountability
work consists of efforts to upgrade the technical capacity of selected government
agencies without attempting to improve participation or inclusion. Some
transparency programs are narrowly designed to make government data more
easily accessible to private sector and other stakeholders and do not attempt to
consciously link these transparency mechanisms to accountability or participatory
processes. Participatory development, on the other hand, often seeks to
make participation itself the driver of change by helping citizens take charge of
their communities’ development, without fostering any particular ties to formal
12 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
accountability mechanisms. And accountability programs or participatory development
efforts sometimes fail to include marginalized groups and take their
needs into account, though efforts in this respect have gradually improved.
In short, what is presented to the outside world as a unified agenda instead
appears from within the development community to be a set of goals that
compete with each other for attention and resources. Different aid organizations
or groups within them pursue very different relative emphases on the four
principles. For example, enthusiastic proponents of the growing transnational
movement for accountability and transparency view these issues as a potentially
transformative advance of the governance agenda and one that naturally
connects to burgeoning efforts to harness new Internet and communication
technologies for development ends. Other practitioners have a long-standing
commitment to participatory development and/or socioeconomic inclusion—
two domains of assistance that predate the more recent rush of attention to
accountability and transparency and that have undergone various permutations
over the past decades.
The four principles are not only frequently pursued at least somewhat independently
of each other: they can also at times be in tension. For example, an
effort to push a government emerging out of civil war to pursue accountability
for past rights violations may limit the inclusion of some groups in the postconflict
political system. Accountability programs that seek to reduce state
capture may actually try to limit participation in the workings of certain institutions,
such as central banks, in order to isolate them from political pressure
or improve efficiency. Certain attempts to strengthen public sector accountability
by increasing provider competition in service delivery may perpetuate
patterns of marginalization, and poorly conceived participatory projects can
exacerbate rather than alleviate the exclusion of disadvantaged groups. These
tensions are rarely acknowledged, and remain buried beneath the continual
references to the four principles as a shared agenda.
The Problem of Superficial Application
Another fissure arising in the application of the four principles centers on the
actual depth of donor commitment to transparency, accountability, participation,
and inclusion in programming and implementation. Despite their stated
devotion to these principles, aid organizations sometimes treat them as boxes
to be ticked rather than genuinely significant or even transformative elements
to be pursued in substantial, sustained ways.
This problem partly stems from the fact that despite their suggestive and
appealing nature, the four concepts are sufficiently broad that agreeing on
them in theory does not necessarily translate into agreement about them in
practice. References to principles such as participation and accountability in
aid programming have become so frequent and widespread that pinning down
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 13
with any precision what is meant by those terms often proves difficult. At times
the terms appear to have the quality of an elixir that aid providers sprinkle—at
least rhetorically—on everything they do, in the hopes of giving their activities
an appealing extra shine. Participation, for example,
is generally used to refer to input by citizens into governmental
processes, including, for example, in the planning,
design, implementation, or review of policies that affect
them. Yet such input varies widely in type, duration, and
intensity—it can be formal or informal, sporadic or continuous,
limited or far-reaching, local or national, and so
forth. Participatory measures can be part of broader vertical
accountability efforts relating to public financial management
and service delivery, forming an integral element
of citizen attempts to exert a disciplinary role vis-à-vis the state. Yet the term is
also used to describe broader consultations and public input into decisionmaking
processes that remain firmly in the hands of governments or other stakeholders.
A similar degree of variation holds for the other three concepts as well.
As a result of this variation in definitions, very different things can be carried
out in the name of apparently common principles. Seemingly transformative
concepts and approaches in reality often translate into superficial or limited
applications. In the realm of participation, all major aid providers have during
the last two decades committed—at least rhetorically—to facilitating greater
citizen participation in development work and have built participatory elements
into many of their programs. More often than not, they directly linked
these efforts to powerful claims that participation would help advance capacity-building,
local ownership, and citizen empowerment. But as numerous critics
have detailed in extensive review studies, such elements often fall short of
their transformative aspirations, resulting instead in superficial forms of public
consultation that do not give poor people substantive input into development
decisions or change the balance of power between citizens and states. 10
For example, the move to make the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction
Strategy Papers (PRSP) more participatory through the implementation of
Participatory Poverty Assessments was, in the eyes of some critics, a long and
corrosive study in the superficiality of donor commitment to participation.
Although there is evidence that in some countries, civil society involvement
in these processes helped shape a more multidimensional understanding of
poverty and its causes, it generally fell short of achieving genuine inclusion.
Instead, such efforts too often remained “poorly-conceived, rushed, exclusive
and badly-organised” exercises in information extraction.” 11 Crucial macroeconomic
policy decisions were still made before soliciting citizen input, and
developing country governments often saw the PRSP process as nothing but
a requirement imposed by international financial institutions that they had
limited capacity to meet. 12 Critics have therefore emphasized the need to tie
participation within specific development programs to broader methods of
References to principles such as participation
and accountability in aid programming have
become so frequent and widespread that
pinning down with any precision what is
meant by those terms often proves difficult.
14 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
citizen empowerment. 13 Of course there were other attempts that proved more
meaningful and successful: for example, the participation of civil society representatives
in the writing of shadow reports to the Universal Periodic Review of
the UN Human Rights Council as well as in official discussions of the review
has helped strengthen civil society capacity and facilitated networking between
different citizen organizations and movements.
Efforts to bolster the inclusion of marginalized groups also often suffer from
the problem of superficial application. For many mainstream donor organizations,
inclusion emerged as a priority issue on the international aid agenda
due to the efforts of women’s activists who argued that the economic, social,
and political marginalization of women—for example through their exclusion
from education and political decisionmaking—perpetuated chronic poverty.
However, the domain of gender inclusion is nevertheless littered with examples
of aid providers who have professed their commitment to gender awareness in
their program design without in fact attempting to address the systemic and
structural exclusion of women from development processes. 14
Similarly, a first wave of efforts to foster transparency in different arenas of
state action is quickly giving way to the realization that achieving meaningful
developmental impact this way is a considerably more complex and uncertain
process than many aid providers had initially realized. Scholars have warned of
the frequent conflation of open data technologies and the politics of open government,
emphasizing that a government can “provide ‘open data’ on politically
neutral topics even as it remains deeply opaque and unaccountable.” 15 In
a recent review of transparency’s impact on governance and public services in
particular, Stephen Kosack and Archon Fung further draw attention to the
ways in which different governance contexts account for variations in the effectiveness
of transparency initiatives. They argue that reforms can face obstacles
of collective action, political resistance, and long implementation chains, and
are most likely to succeed in situations marked by competitive service delivery
that poses fewer of these hurdles. 16
The Unsettled Intrinsic Case
Beyond divisions among various practitioner communities and difficulties
in implementation persists a broader debate about the appropriate role of the
four principles in development work. The intrinsic case for making accountability,
transparency, participation, and inclusion major pillars of development
aid seems straightforward to enthusiasts of these principles: the four concepts
describe a relationship between governments and their citizens that honors and
reinforces basic human dignity. As such, they are good things in and of themselves
that should be understood as intrinsic elements of development. In other
words, a society is more developed when its people are treated in accordance
with these values and less developed when they are not.
But within most aid organizations, skepticism over the intrinsic case persists.
The debate is not over whether participation, accountability, transparency, and
inclusion are good things. Instead, the question is whether the primarily socioeconomic
conception of development—on which the field of development aid
has rested since its origins in the 1950s—should be expanded to include these
principles as objectives. Many developmentalists worry that moving away from
the core socioeconomic conception risks diluting the focus on poverty reduction
and economic growth. They fear that opening the door to what they see
as politically normative claims on the development agenda will lead to even
greater disagreements both within aid organizations and between donors and
recipients over basic purposes. They are not necessarily against incorporating
concepts such as participation and accountability if they can be shown to yield
better developmental outcomes—but they are uncomfortable with the normative
argument as a stand-alone rationale. This division also exists within some of
the various practitioner subcommunities that have emerged around the four concepts:
for example, between those that view open data and access to information
as an intrinsic human right and those that see it primarily as a tool for economic
development, greater public sector efficiency, and anticorruption efforts.
It is impossible to assess with any precision the degree to which the intrinsic
case is accepted within the many aid organizations putting forward these four
concepts as important priorities. Official policy statements affirming donor
commitment to inclusive, participatory, accountable, and transparent governance
often do not explicitly state whether this commitment is primarily normative
or based on an assumed instrumental case, and only provide vague
or incomplete theories of change relating to these issues. The World Bank,
for example, argues that social accountability initiatives, besides facilitating
better governance and improved public policies and services, can also serve
to “empower those social groups that are systematically under-represented in
formal political institutions” and to “ensure that less powerful societal groups
also have the ability to express and act upon their choices. . . .” 17 Yet the World
Bank does not specify whether empowerment—another ubiquitous, yet conceptually
ambiguous term—is advanced as a normative end goal or as a means
to achieve better socioeconomic outcomes.
However, it is clear that many mainstream developmentalists remain
strongly attached to a traditional socioeconomic conception of development
and are reluctant to embrace normative principles for their own sake. Few
donors clearly state the normative argument in their policy statements. The
Swedish government is a notable exception in this regard: its core aid strategy
seeks to operationalize Amartya Sen’s argument that a lack of freedom is a form
of poverty, thereby merging normative political principles with a traditionally
socioeconomic definition of development. Rights-based approaches to development
take participation, accountability, and inclusion as inalienable rights
that should be integral to both development processes and outcomes and thus
represent an embodiment of the normative case. But they have gained only
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 15
16 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
partial ground over the past twenty years, and even the minority of major aid
organizations that embrace a human-rights-based approach are still struggling
to incorporate it substantially into development practice and make a difference
in programming beyond appealing statements of intent. One at least partial
exception is the UNDP, which since the early 2000s has advanced a rightsbased
conception of development in its Human Development Reports and
pushed for a convergence between human rights and development agencies in
the UN system. UNDP has invested in efforts to develop clear indicators for
this approach to aid programming and assist donors in assessing human rights
standards and principles in project design, implementation, and monitoring. 18
Divisions Over the Instrumental Case
Not only is the intrinsic case for the four concepts unsettled, so too is the
instrumental one—the argument that building the four principles into development
assistance will help produce better socioeconomic outcomes in aidreceiving
countries. A limited and generally inconclusive evidence base to date
exacerbates this problem. Despite the rapid increase of aid programming relating
to accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion in the course
of the past fifteen years, relatively little time and funding have been invested
in examining the long-term socioeconomic and political impact of these initiatives.
Only in the past several years have a substantial number of researchers
and aid organizations attempted to address this shortcoming by systematically
investing in evidence collection. This emerging body of work—which is still
in its incipient phase—consists both of evaluations of specific
programs or projects and larger reviews that attempt
Despite the rapid increase of aid programming to extract, code, and synthesize the findings from existing
relating to accountability, transparency, studies and cases. The Overseas Development Institute for
participation, and inclusion in the course example in 2008 carried out a major review of “citizens’
voice and accountability” interventions based on an analysis
of 90 such projects in ten countries and seven detailed
of the past fifteen years, relatively little
time and funding have been invested in country case studies. 19 A comprehensive 2013 report by
examining the long-term socioeconomic World Bank researchers Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra
and political impact of these initiatives. Rao similarly attempted to systematically assess the socioeconomic
impact of decentralization and local-level participatory
development in aid recipient countries. 20
Yet trying to distill this emerging area of research into a coherent set of findings
that would convince skeptical policymakers of the merits of the instrumental
case is difficult. First, the endemic conceptual imprecision of practitioners
using the four concepts results in a jumbled array of interventions that cannot
be neatly sorted into categories. The ever-changing but often overlapping application
of the terms also makes it difficult to isolate any one element of programming
and measure its specific impact on development outcomes. Moreover, the
unusually complex and often indirect causal chains that connect work on the
four concepts to socioeconomic outcomes (compared, for example, to the direct
causal link between a vaccination delivery program and a reduction in the incidence
of the targeted disease) pose significant challenges to researchers looking
to trace development impact. A third impediment is the difficulty of drawing
generalizable lessons from highly context-specific interventions. Programming
that relates to the four principles seeks to make changes in sociopolitical relations
(as opposed to technical inputs or the infusion of capital) the driver of
developmental progress. This means that any successful strategy for change
will heavily depend on local power constellations and broader state-society
relations, as well as citizen capacity for collective action, among other factors.
However, one overarching message does emerge from the existing evidence:
the need for a strong dose of realism and caution regarding donor expectations
of developmental impact. Many studies show that programs targeting accountability,
participation, transparency, or inclusion are at least somewhat successful
at achieving their intermediate goals—such as establishing a social audit
process, strengthening the transparency of a particular ministry, or improving
citizen input into a national planning process. However, translating such
achievements into longer-term socioeconomic progress is much less common,
or, at the very least, much harder to detect.
Of course, few studies suggest that incorporating these concepts into programs
has no developmental effect at all. Success stories do exist: In Uganda,
community monitoring has contributed to improvements in public service
delivery, such as increased student and teacher attendance in schools and better
education outcomes. 21 Similarly, community monitoring of health services
using citizen report cards to facilitate regular dialogue with health workers
about problems and expectations led to an increase in the use of outpatient
services as well as overall improvements in medical treatments and a significant
reduction in infant mortality. 22 Participatory governance councils in Brazil
have improved the access to and quality of healthcare services, and participatory
budgeting in cities such as Porto Alegre has stimulated citizen participation
in local politics and increased public funding for housing, health, and
education. However, these initiatives have also been criticized for failing to
ensure inclusion of the poorest or perpetuating clientelistic politics in certain
A central challenge for the aid community is how to move from these
scattered, often small-scale successes to greater socioeconomic impact. Aid
providers eager to make progress on this question are increasingly trying to
move beyond isolated bottom-up or top-down approaches, instead working
to tackle both sides of the state-society relationship at once. Various analysts
have highlighted the importance of such integrative approaches. For example,
in an insightful analysis of the empirical basis for social accountability work,
Jonathan Fox criticizes what he calls tactical approaches that rely on bounded
interventions, neglect the role of the state, and rest on flawed assumptions
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 17
18 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
about the power of information. Instead, he praises strategic approaches that
attempt to coordinate citizen action with governmental reforms to bolster public
sector responsiveness. While the impact of tactical approaches has been
minimal, Fox suggests that the evidence base for strategic approaches “driven
by coalitions of pro-accountability forces across the state-society divide” is considerably
more promising. 24
Yet despite these advances, practitioners still know very little about the types
of interventions and the broader governance structures and power dynamics
needed for work on these four concepts to have a lasting developmental
impact. Behind the clear affirmations by aid organizations of the importance
of accountability, participation, transparency, and inclusion lie considerable
doubts and disagreements about the validity of the instrumental case.
The Larger Developmental Debate
The debate over the evidence base for the four principles is rooted in the larger,
often fierce debate about the overall relationship between governance regimes
and economic development. In recent years this debate has focused extensively
on whether a clear empirical case exists for the proposition that Western-style
governance (which is seen as including the four principles as well as other elements
such as the rule of law) is good for development, whether as a contributing
factor in achieving socioeconomic success or in sustaining it. Three main
(and overlapping) camps contend with each other in this debate.
The optimists believe that mounting evidence from both historical analysis
and more specific empirical studies indicates that inclusive or democratic
governance is the key to generating and sustaining high levels of socioeconomic
development. Driven by the hopefulness of the immediate post–Cold
War years, policymakers in the 1990s initially embraced this argument primarily
axiomatically rather than on a firm empirical basis. Scholars have
since assembled a significant body of research pointing to a positive correlation
between various aspects of a country’s governance—including transparent,
accountable, and participative institutions—and its economic progress.
Daniel Kaufmann and other World Bank economists built an influential set
of aggregate Worldwide Governance Indicators to measure changes in governance
quality over time, and found a positive correlation between a country’s
performance on these measures and its economic development. 25 Their work
generated numerous efforts that relied on those indicators as well as comparable
measures to tease out the relationship between particular aspects of governance—such
as property rights, transparency, and the rule of law—and global
variations in income levels. 26 This research points to the overarching conclusion
that open and inclusive polities and economies ultimately tend to be more
successful at sustaining economic growth.
Another influential line of work attempts to trace the historical relationship
between institutions and economic growth. In their widely discussed book,
Why Nations Fail, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson find that countries
that develop inclusive rather than extractive political and economic institutions
produce better socioeconomic outcomes in the long run. 27 Similarly, Douglass
North, John Wallis, and Barry Weingast juxtapose “open access orders,” characterized
by political and economic competition, impersonal governance, and
a shared commitment to equality and inclusion, and “limited access orders” in
which elites engage in rent-seeking and pursue their personal interests. They
argue that historically, the former have been more successful at sustaining economic
growth than the latter. 28
The UK government’s recent statements regarding a “golden thread” of
development draw on this line of argument. British Prime Minister David
Cameron has repeatedly spoken about property rights, the rule of law, strong
institutions, and the absence of conflict and corruption as an interlinked set of
crucial conditions that “enable open economies and open societies to thrive,”
and argued that “eradicating poverty requires the growth that is fueled by open
economies, and open economies are themselves best ensured by open societies.” 29
Most scholars who embrace this optimistic view acknowledge that larger
historical and statistical relationships between participatory, open, and inclusive
societies and economic growth do not translate neatly into specific policy
recommendations. They therefore caution against attempts to impose generic
institutional templates on wildly differing contexts. Skeptics go a step further
and push back against the inclusive governance orthodoxy by arguing that a
number of governments have made significant developmental progress without
embracing these principles. Some de-emphasize the importance of governance
in general, stressing instead the centrality of structural factors—including
geography, natural resources, geopolitics, disease, and the development of
technology—in determining developmental failure and success. 30
A perhaps more prominent line of research on the skeptical side acknowledges
the centrality of governance, but disagrees that democratic or inclusive
institutions are key to prosperity. Scholars embracing this view argue instead
for a capable and effective developmental state, a model that gained prominence
following the remarkable economic rise of the Asian Tigers in the early 1990s.
Countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore did not institutionalize
Western-style democratic governance, yet rapidly grew their economies by
centralizing state power, developing autonomous and effective bureaucracies,
and actively intervening in the market process. In fact, scholars have argued
that the success of these efforts specifically depended on limiting citizen participation
in the political process and isolating state institutions from popular
pressure and accountability mechanisms.
Focusing on governance challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa, David Booth
and the Africa Power and Politics Programme argue that fragmented, clientelistic
governance systems often pose bigger obstacles to economic growth
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 19
20 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
than various forms of “developmental patrimonialism” that effectively centralize
economic decisionmaking. 31 They therefore stress the importance of state
capacity and cohesion, while rejecting a normative insistence on bottom-up
pressure and accountability as a means to better government performance.
Following a similar line, Mushtaq Khan criticizes the good governance agenda
for prioritizing market-enhancing measures such as transparency, rule of law,
and anticorruption in contexts with limited governance capabilities. Instead,
he argues for a greater focus on growth-enhancing aspects of governance, such
as the capacity to strategically attract new investment. 32 Linking these scholars
is an overarching concern that a premature opening of political institutions
and decisionmaking processes can exacerbate existing collective action problems,
and a wariness of good governance approaches that assume state capacity
and political will for reform where both are lacking.
In the third camp, a number of recent approaches have argued for a more
eclectic view that tries to build on these different schools of thought by highlighting
the ways in which they interact with and complement each other.
This emerging “multiple path philosophy” posits that very different governance
models can produce development success in different contexts. Kunal Sen, for
example, distinguishes between phases of growth acceleration and growth
maintenance. He argues that the informal institutions of credible commitment
and patron-client networks highlighted by scholars in the second camp
often play a crucial role in growth acceleration. In contrast, the formal institutions
and effective, inclusive governance structures described by Acemoglu and
Robinson may take on increasing importance in growth maintenance. 33
Merilee Grindle uses the term “good enough governance” to highlight the
need for greater realism regarding the types of reforms achievable in a given
country context, and advises donors to tackle only the most crucial blockages
to socioeconomic progress rather than imposing standard templates or reform
sequences. 34 In his new book, Working With the Grain, Brian Levy also highlights
the need to avoid what he calls “governance maximalism,” and to instead
recognize different political and institutional pathways that can lead countries
to sustainable development. 35 The same concept of working with rather than
against the grain of local contexts runs through the work of Sue Unsworth
and others at the Centre for the Future State, who in a recent report stress the
crucial role of informal institutions and personalized relationships in many
developing countries. The authors call on donors to move beyond a singular
focus on formal, rule-based institutions toward more “indirect strategies to
shift or influence the behavior of local actors.” 36 Yet even arguments for more
pragmatic and locally grounded approaches do not necessarily translate into
clear policy prescriptions or a powerful case for incorporating the four principles
into development policy.
The ongoing, fiercely contested research debate over the relationship between
governance and development exacerbates the continued fissures within the
aid community over the value of incorporating accountability, transparency,
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 21
participation, and inclusion into development work. The arguments for their
developmental impact are strong enough to give at least some comfort to their
devoted proponents. Yet the strengths of the arguments on the other side give
those aid practitioners skeptical of the concepts’ instrumental value a foundation
for their doubts. Given the fact that this decades-old research debate does
not appear to be headed soon toward any definite resolution, these deep-seated
splits over the instrumental case are likely to continue for some time.
Uncertain Commitment to
The apparent consensus around the four concepts extends to governments on all
sides of the aid equation—donors and recipients alike. Part of the strong appeal
of recent transnational initiatives that have taken up the four concepts—such
as the Open Government Partnership, which now counts 65 member governments
committed to improving government transparency—lies precisely in the
fact that they put developed and developing countries on the same plane and
acknowledge that they face many of the same core problems.
Yet here too, fissures persist. The problem of superficial application identified
with regard to aid programming around the four concepts to some extent
also affects international initiatives centered on issues such as government
accountability and transparency, which struggle with the question of how to
best translate international commitments by participating governments into
meaningful domestic reforms.
This challenge arises with regard to the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative, a voluntary international regime that aims to expose revenue streams
to citizen scrutiny in order to expose resource theft and increase public and
private sector responsiveness to citizen demands. EITI-compliant governments
regularly publish their revenues from the extractive sector and require private
industry actors to do the same. 37 Developing countries have strong incentives
to join EITI, as membership is tied to not only reputation but also improved
performance on various international ratings, such as the World Bank “Doing
Business” Index, which in turn influence aid flows and investment. 38 However,
critics argue that corrupt regimes can reap these benefits while at the same time
maintaining kleptocratic governance structures.
EITI’s compliance standards remain relatively weak and narrow in scope,
despite the introduction of additional disclosure and reporting requirements
in 2013. This allows poorly performing governments to be rated as compliant
or “in progress,” while insufficiently rewarding those that are truly reform
minded. EITI has so far also been poorly linked to broader processes of public
sector reform or citizen empowerment, with local civil society organizations in
countries such as Nigeria often ill-equipped to use newly available information
to push for greater accountability. 39 A 2011 evaluation argued that while EITI
22 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
had boosted transparency at the country level, “accountability does not appear
to have changed much, in part because necessary political, legal and institutional
improvements have in most cases not been put in place,” and concluded
that “little impact at the societal level can be discerned.” 40
The initiative has thus been criticized for providing legitimacy to a number
of questionable regimes—including Ethiopia and Azerbaijan—without posing
a real threat to their repressive governance structures and rent-seeking elite
behavior. 41 Although its fifth criterion requires that “civil society is actively
engaged as a participant in the design, monitoring and evaluation” of the EITI
process, these governments have routinely come under fire for systematically
restricting basic civil and political rights, including freedom of assembly, association,
and expression. 42
The Open Government Partnership, founded in 2011, represents another
interesting case study of an international initiative attempting to trigger domestic
reforms on transparency and accountability issues. The OGP is open to all
countries that meet a set of eligibility criteria, and it compels participating
governments to implement regularly monitored open government action plans
developed in consultation with civil society. Some observers have criticized
the initiative for allowing governments to present themselves via their OGP
membership as reform minded and transparent while committing to few specific,
measurable, or genuinely transformative reform proposals. 43 The OGP’s
Independent Reporting Mechanism for example found that up to two-thirds
of the existing partnership commitments “do not pass the three hurdles of
being relevant, having the potential to have a major impact, and being implemented.”
44 Yet the initiative has also been praised for achieving considerable
success in a very short period of time, with 194 ambitious reform commitments
in 35 countries mostly or fully implemented and completed within three
years. 45 Moreover, the OGP is still a relatively new initiative and deserves time
to gain traction and fine-tune its approach.
For international initiatives such as EITI or the OGP, there may of course
also be value in including governments with bad track records on accountability,
transparency, and citizen participation in order to encourage a “race
to the top,” as Western proponents of these sorts of endeavors like to argue.
The inclusion of governments with chronically poor governance records may
indeed serve to gradually socialize them into a different outlook. Yet research
on the European Union and other multilateral initiatives shows that governments
are often most likely to reform before joining an initiative, suggesting
that both entry and compliance criteria should be carefully designed and
reviewed to maximize leverage. 46
A second finding relates to the interaction between such initiatives and
broader domestic reform efforts. Governments repeatedly sign up to reform
projects in one domain while backtracking in another. The example of EITI
shows that meaningful citizen participation needs to be an integral rather than
a secondary part of such initiatives, in order to avoid formalistic processes
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 23
that give citizens little or no control while providing a facade of credibility for
repressive regimes. If it becomes clear over time that some member states are
milking the benefits without fulfilling their responsibilities, the international
agreement or initiative in question inevitably suffers.
The Continuing Donor-Recipient Divide
The four concepts also appear as a potential bridge across the donor-recipient
divide in a second sense—they are not only widely embraced by aid organizations
as programmatic principles and objectives, but have also been agreed on
by both donor and recipient governments as a means to achieve greater aid
effectiveness. Yet here too the consensus is less solid than the rhetoric may indicate.
A number of developing country governments remain fiercely opposed
to incorporating these principles into the international development agenda
as universal characteristics of good governance. While they advocate for their
application to international partnerships, they reject donor attempts to promote
them in aid recipient societies as illegitimate political meddling. In other
words, donors embrace the four concepts as things that they hope recipient
governments will do, while recipient governments embrace them as things that
they hope donor governments will do.
Skepticism on the side of recipient country governments about the four concepts
first emerged when the World Bank and other major aid organizations
began pushing the accountability and anticorruption agenda in the 1990s.
Developing country power holders were unconvinced by the instrumental case
for anticorruption work, fully aware that many developed countries had in
fact experienced substantial corruption throughout their own histories, yet
still managed to reach prosperity. They also doubted the intentions of Western
donors, seeing the new agenda as a cover for political interventionism, an
excuse to embarrass or even delegitimize governments that the West happened
not to favor.
These initial suspicions have continued to fester throughout the expansion
of the governance agenda over the past two decades. The argument that
concepts such as accountability, participation, inclusion, and transparency
are post-ideological is not persuasive to some developing country officials and
observers, especially as they are often presented as core elements of “democratic
governance.” With sensitivities over Western political interventionism having
risen dramatically across the international political landscape over the last ten
years, movements by the aid community toward more normative approaches to
governance inevitably encounter rough terrain on the recipient side. Moreover,
power holders in nondemocratic societies such as China, Vietnam, Rwanda,
and Ethiopia often present their own developmental success as counterarguments
to the instrumental case.
24 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
The difficulties of reaching a global agreement in the ongoing negotiations
over the post-2015 development agenda sharply highlight this continuing fissure.
Major Western donors have persistently argued for the inclusion of a goal that
would incorporate governance principles in a substantial way—particularly since
the Millennium Development Goals fell short of addressing the developmental
role of governance, democracy, and the rule of law. Considerable momentum has
gathered for commitments on accountability and transparency as well as citizen
participation and political freedoms to be incorporated into a future framework.
The High-Level Panel appointed by the UN secretary general to assist the formulation
of a post-2015 development agenda recommended in its final report that
“good governance and effective institutions” be included as a stand-alone goal,
and put governance among the “transformative” factors affecting development
beyond 2015. 47 But disagreements persist over whether such governance components
should be incorporated as cross-cutting principles, measurable targets, or
overarching objectives, and whether their inclusion should follow an intrinsic
(for example, human-rights-based) or instrumental rationale.
Proponents of incorporating governance principles or objectives have faced
persistent pushback from several key states, including China, Egypt, and
Brazil. These countries assert that the focus of the post-2015 framework should
be on poverty reduction, and that incorporating governance objectives as well
as other elements such as peace and security would overburden the agenda
with ambition. Another common line of argument is that the framework
should respect “different models of development” and “individual national
circumstances”—a de facto veto of any attempts to incorporate normative
governance principles. 48 For example, China’s position paper on the global
development agenda beyond 2015 asserts that it should be based on the existing
Millennium Development Goals, and argues that “it is . . . important to
respect the independence of all countries in determining their development
strategies and goals.” 49 The BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China,
and South Africa—have further pushed for a greater focus on reforming international
rather than national governance, which they frame as an excessively
Governance principles have been a contentious topic not just across the
donor-recipient divide but among developing country governments as well:
the consultations leading up to the Common African Position on the post-
2015 development agenda were marked by disagreements over the inclusion
of the rule of law as well as peace and security, issues that were prioritized by
conflict-affected countries in particular but dismissed by others as a Western
agenda. South Africa, for example, has stressed a holistic approach to peace
and security that centers on human rights and the rule of law, while Uganda
and Rwanda have emphasized conflict-prevention and resolution. 50 Egypt,
on the other hand, opposed any references to governance and the rule of law
whatsoever, arguing that it would be “premature” to mainstream “an abstract
notion . . . without having an agreed definition and commonly shared vision”
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 25
and emphasizing that “diverse cultures and traditions have to be respected at
all times.” 51
Other developing country governments have welcomed a greater focus on
governance, human rights, and even democracy in the post-2015 framework.
But the very difficult road that proponents of these concepts have had to travel
to get close to even a partial inclusion of governance principles in the post-2015
agenda—partiality that some have rejected as potentially counterproductive—
is testament to the still very shaky and incomplete consensus around the four
concepts within the broader aid community.
The recent embrace of accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion
as crucial aid priorities and overarching principles should not be seen
as one more minor enthusiasm of a donor community prone to grasping for
magic bullets. It is a concrete embodiment of the fundamental movement by
international aid providers away from their decades-long preference for technocratic
approaches that bypassed or neglected the political dynamics of recipient
countries and treated states as deus ex machinas operating without any organic
connection to the citizens they are supposed to serve.
In simple terms it represents the third stage of the evolution of development
thinking across the last fifty years. In stage one, from the 1960s through the
1980s, aid providers focused on state-led development without giving serious,
sustained attention to how governance processes operate and evolve. In stage
two, the 1990s, donors took governance on board as a crucial factor in development,
yet hewed to a primarily narrow, top-down view of the concept. In stage
three, from the early 2000s on, the aid community expanded its approach to
governance, emphasizing the relationship between states and citizens, ideally
informed by principles that embody the importance of citizens’ roles.
Yet powerfully important though these principles are, the consensus around
them is not as strong as it might appear based on formal policy statements by
major aid organizations and the extraordinary proliferation of references to
them in aid programs and projects. Indeed, the consensus is fissured by a host
of doubts and disagreements:
• Although these principles serve as a bridge among the three communities
that emerged in the overall aid world in direct response to the opening of
the door to politics in the 1990s—practitioners focusing on governance,
democracy, or human rights—the bridge is only partial. These communities
still have very different understandings of and approaches to the
four principles in practice. Governance specialists view them primarily as
tools to tackle specific service delivery failures and increase government
26 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
efficiency and responsiveness; they remain wary of appearing too political.
Democracy and human rights practitioners, for their part, reject technical
applications that they believe risk stripping the concepts of their transformative
political value and reducing them to mere formalities in program
design and implementation.
• Aid providers’ application of these principles is often superficial and based on
simplistic or incomplete theories of change. Concepts such as participation
and transparency evoke powerful notions of citizen empowerment, yet in
practice they are often reduced to consultation mechanisms or exercises in
information dissemination that fail to seriously challenge structural inequities
in the distribution of power. Donors include appealing references to the
four concepts in their programs and projects without necessarily specifying
the precise steps by which the desired change will be achieved, and rely on
unrealistic expectations about their transformative impact.
• The aid community remains divided over the intrinsic case for incorporating
these principles into development work. Enthusiasts see them as valuable priorities
in and of themselves, regardless of whether they necessarily produce
better socioeconomic outcomes. But a significant number of aid practitioners
believe that adopting these principles and objectives will detract from a
core focus on poverty reduction or fighting disease and hunger, and drag aid
organizations into a normative terrain beyond the scope of their mandate.
• Divisions also surround the empirical case for the instrumental value of
the four principles. The impact of donor interventions related to accountability,
transparency, participation, and inclusion is often long-term, indirect,
and difficult to isolate from other factors, and the evidence base to
date is still too thin to arrive at firm conclusions. In general, donors so far
seem to have been more successful at achieving intermediate outcomes
than proving a causal connection between their efforts relating to these
issues and broader processes of socioeconomic change. They further struggle
to translate evidence of success in one particular context to more widely
applicable policy recommendations.
• This uncertainty about the instrumental value of the four principles is
compounded by the continuing debate over the relationship between governance
and economic development. While some researchers argue that
open, participatory, and inclusive institutions are closely correlated with
socioeconomic success, another important school of thought de-emphasizes
the importance of Western-style governance. Instead, scholars in
this latter camp stress the crucial role of state capacity to intervene in the
economy as well as the potentially beneficial role of neopatrimonial structures
or informal settlements in accelerating economic growth. A number
of recent approaches have attempted to carve out an eclectic middle
ground that focuses on context specificity, attention to the different stages
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 27
of growth, and working with rather than against the grain of existing governance
processes. Yet the ongoing debate is enough to fuel the skepticism
of developmentalists reluctant to take on board politically charged principles
of uncertain instrumental value.
• Despite the fact that they stand at the center of several prominent international
initiatives, the four concepts are far from commanding universal
agreement at the global level. A number of developing country governments
have rhetorically embraced the value of accountability, transparency,
participation, and inclusion and joined international initiatives
centered on these issues. However, the political will to translate this commitment
into substantive political reform is often lacking. Transforming
multilateral initiatives into sustained domestic change will require continuous
independent monitoring to evaluate their impact and adjust their
approach—the Open Government Partnership’s Independent Reporting
Mechanism could serve as a potential role model in this regard.
• Moreover, donors and aid recipients do not always share the same interpretation
of the four concepts. While recipient country governments advocate
for more inclusive, transparent, and accountable international development
partnerships, they often resist aid providers’ attempts to apply the
same concepts to domestic governance processes. Some view donor efforts
in this respect as an unwelcome attempt to impose Western political values
and interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.
In sum, the apparent consensus around transparency, accountability, participation,
and inclusion should be understood as very much a work in progress,
not a transformation that has largely already been achieved. Enthusiasts of these
principles should avoid the temptation to act as though the agreement around
them is stronger than it really is—and they should be willing to face head on the
many lasting fissures and look for ways to reduce them. Some, like the debates
over the legitimacy of the intrinsic case, reflect differences in the very core idea
of what development is and are thus unlikely to be overcome anytime soon.
But others, like the continuing divisions between governance, human rights,
and democracy practitioners or the problem of superficial application of the
four principles, are much more amenable to practical solutions. In other words,
whether the consensus genuinely solidifies will depend greatly on how effectively
its proponents deepen their understanding of how to put the four concepts into
practice, share that understanding clearly across all parts of the assistance community,
and bridge the divide between donors and recipients on these issues. The
degree of their success will be a major factor determining the shape of international
development work over the next generation.
1 USAID, USAID Strategy on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (Washington,
D.C.: U.S. Agency for International Development, June 2013), 5, 7, www.usaid
2 OECD DAC, DAC Action-Oriented Policy Paper on Human Rights and Development
(Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2007), 3, www
3 World Bank, Strengthening Bank Group Engagement on Governance and Anticorruption
(Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2006), 14, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/
4 SIDA, “Aid Policy Framework: The Direction of Swedish Aid,” Government
Communication 2013/14:131 (Stockholm: Government Offices of Sweden, March
5 OECD, “The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action,”
Organization for International Development and Cooperation, 2005, 2008, 8.
6 Accra Agenda for Action, 3rd High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, September
2–4, 2008, Ghana; and “The Busan Partnership for Effective Development
Cooperation,” July 2012, www.oecd.org/dac/effectiveness/Busan%20partnership.pdf.
7 Jamie P. Horsley, “Public Participation in the People’s Republic: Developing a More
Participatory Governance Model in China,” Yale Law School, 2009, 4, www.law.yale
8 OHCHR, “Frequently Asked Questions on a Human-Rights Based Approach to
Development Cooperation,” Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights, 2006.
9 “Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Adopted by the World
Conference on Human Rights in Vienna on 25 June 1993,” www.ohchr.org/en/
10 Sam Hickey and Giles Mohan, “Relocating Participation Within a Radical Politics of
Development: Citizenship and Critical Modernism,” in Participation: From Tyranny
to Transformation? Exploring New Approaches to Participation in Development, ed. Sam
Hickey and Giles Mohan (London: Zed Books, 2004).
11 Rosemary McGee, Josh Levene, and Alexandra Hughes, “Assessing Participation in
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers: A Desk-Based Synthesis of Experience in Sub-
Saharan Africa,” Research Report 52, Institute of Development, February 2002, 7.
13 Hickey and Mohan, “Relocating Participation Within a Radical Politics of Development:
Citizenship and Critical Modernism.”
14 Fenella Porter and Caroline Sweetman, Mainstreaming Gender in Development:
A Critical Review (Oxford: Oxfam GB, 2005); Patricia Nilsson, “Gender and
Development: The Challenge of Mainstream,” Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable
30 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
Development 10, no. 1 (2013): 125–35; and UNDP, “Evaluation of Gender
Mainstreaming in UNDP,” United Nations Development Programme, 2006.
15 Harlan Yu and David G. Robinson, “The New Ambiguity of ‘Open Government,’”
58 UCLA Law Review Disc. 178 (2012).
16 Stephen Kossack and Archon Fung, “Does Transparency Improve Governance?”
American Review of Political Science 17 (2014): 65–87.
17 World Bank, “Social Accountability: What Does It Mean for the World Bank?” in
Social Accountability Sourcebook (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2007), 8, www.
18 See, for example, UNDP, “Indicators for Human Rights Based Approaches
to Development in UNDP Programming: A Users’ Guide,” United Nations
Development Programme, March 2006; and UNDP, “Applying a Human Rights-
Based Approach to Development Cooperation and Programming: A UNDP Capacity
Resource,” United Nations Development Programme, September 2006.
19 Alina Rocha Menocal and Bhavna Sharma, Joint Evaluation of Citizens’ Voice and
Accountability: Synthesis Report, Overseas Development Institute Evaluation Report
EV692 (London: DFID, November 2008).
20 Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra Rao, Localizing Development: Does Participation
Work? (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2013).
21 Abigail Barr, Frederick Mugisha, Pieter Serneels, and Andrew Zeitlin, “Information
and Collective Action in Community-Based Monitoring of Schools: Field and
Lab Experimental Evidence From Uganda,” Working Paper, January 2012, www.
22 Martina Björkman and Jakob Svensson, “Power to the People: Evidence From a
Randomized Field Experiment on Community-Based Monitoring in Uganda,”
Quarterly Journal of Economics 124, no. 42 (May 2009).
23 Anuradha Joshi, “Review of Impact and Effectiveness of Transparency and
Accountability Initiatives: Annex 1 Service Delivery,” prepared for the Transparency and
Accountability Initiative Workshop, October 14–15, 2010, Institute of Development
Studies, October 2010; World Bank, “Empowerment Case Studies: Participatory
Budgeting in Brazil,” http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTEMPOWERMENT/
Resources/14657_Partic-Budg-Brazil-web.pdf; and Celina Souza, “Participatory
Budgeting in Brazilian Cities: Limits and Possibilities in Building Democratic
Institutions,” Environment and Urbanization 13, no. 1 (April 2001).
24 Jonathan Fox, “Social Accountability: What Does the Evidence Really Say?” Global
Partnership for Social Accountability, March 3, 2014.
25 See, for example, Daniel Kaufmann and Aart Kraay, “Growth Without Governance,”
Economia 3, no. 1 (fall 2002): 169–229; and Daniel Kaufmann, Aart Kraay, and
Pablo Zoido-Lobatón, “Governance Matters,” Policy Research Working Paper 2196,
World Bank, October 1999.
26 See, for example, Dani Rodrik, Arvind Subramaniam, and Francesco Trebbi,
“Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Over Geography and Integration in
Economic Development,” Working Paper 9305 (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau
of Economic Research, October 2002).
27 Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power,
Prosperity, and Poverty (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2012).
28 Douglass C. North, John Wallis, and Barry Weingast, Violence and Social Orders:
A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2009).
29 David Cameron, “Combating Poverty at Its Roots,” Wall Street Journal, November 1,
30 Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (New York: W. W.
Norton, 1999); and Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
(London: Penguin Press, 2005).
31 David Booth, Development as a Collective Action Problem: Addressing the Real
Challenges of African Governance, Synthesis Report (London: Overseas Development
Institute, Africa Power and Politics Programme, 2012); and David Booth,
“Governance for Development in Africa: Building on What Works,” Policy Brief 1,
Overseas Development Institute, Africa Power and Politics Programme, April 2011.
32 Mushtaq Khan, “Governance, Economic Growth and Development Since the 1960s:
Background Paper for World Economic and Social Survey 2006,” UN Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, 2006.
33 Kunal Sen, “The Political Dynamics of Economic Growth,” ESID Working Paper
5, University of Manchester, Effective States and Inclusive Development Research
Centre, April 2012.
34 Merilee Grindle, “Good Enough Governance: Poverty Reduction and Reform in
Developing Countries,” Governance 17, no. 4 (2004): 525–48.
35 Brian Levy, Working With the Grain: Integrating Governance and Growth in
Development Strategies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
36 Centre for the Future State, An Upside Down View of Governance (Brighton: Institute
of Development Studies, April 2010).
37 As of May 2014, 26 countries were considered compliant, 25 had already produced
EITI reports, seventeen were candidates, three had been suspended, and two removed.
38 Liz David-Barrett and Ken Okamura, “The Transparency Paradox: Why Do Corrupt
Countries Join EITI?” Working Paper no. 38, European Research Center for Anti-
Corruption and State-Building, November 2013.
39 Mary Ella Keblusek, “Is EITI Really Helping Improve Global Governance?
Examining the Resource Curse, Corruption and Nigeria’s EITI Implementation
Experience,” Niger Delta Professionals for Development, January 2010, http://
40 Scanteam, Achievements and Strategic Options: Evaluation of the Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative, Final Report (Oslo: Scanteam, May 2011).
41 Hannes Meissner, “Functioning, Effects and Perspectives of Transparency Initiatives:
The Example of EITI in Azerbaijan,” City of Vienna Competence Team Black
Sea Region, University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna, http://campus.hec.fr/
42 Human Rights Watch, “Extractive Industries: Transparency Group Rewards
Repression,” March 19, 2014, www.hrw.org/news/2014/03/19/extractive-industriestransparency-group-rewards-repression;
and “Eye on EITI: Civil Society Perspectives
and Recommendations on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative,” Publish
What You Pay and Revenue Watch Institute, 2006, 13–14, www.humanrightsinitiative
43 Jessica McKenzie, “Near 3-Year Mark, Open Government Partnership Success
Still Unclear,” TechPresident, May 29, 2014, http://techpresident.com/news/
44 Alan Hudson, “Opening Government: What Does the Data Say?” Global Integrity
Blog, May 9, 2014, www.globalintegrity.org/posts/opening-government-what-doesthe-data-say.
45 Martin Tisne, “The Ambition of Open Government Partnership,” Open Government
Partnership Blog, May 27, 2014, www.opengovpartnership.org/blog/martintisne/2014/05/27/ambition-open-government-partnership.
46 See, for example, Christina L. Davis, “Membership Conditionality and Institutional
Reform: The Case of the OECD,” prepared for presentation to the Annual Meeting
of the International Political Economy Society, Claremont Graduate School, October
Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher | 31
32 | Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus?
25, 2013; Sudip Ranjan Basu, “Does WTO Accession Affect Domestic Economic
Policies and Institutions?” HEI Working Paper no. 03/2008, Graduate Institute
of International Studies Geneva, 2008; and Mert Kartal, “Accounting for the Bad
Apples: The EU’s Impact on National Corruption Before and After Accession,”
Journal of European Public Policy 21, no. 6 (2014).
47 United Nations, A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies
Through Sustainable Development, Final Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent
Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (New York: United Nations, 2013).
48 “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation.
eThekwini Declaration,” Fifth BRICS Summit, March 27, 2013, www.brics5.co.za/
49 Jiang Ye and Thomas Fues, “A Strong Voice for Global Sustainable Development: How
China Can Play a Leading Role in the Post-2015 Agenda,” German Development
Institute, Briefing Paper 2/2014, www.die-gdi.de/uploads/media/BP_2.2014.pdf.
50 Saskia Hollander, “Africa: An Increasingly Powerful Post-2015 Player? The Common
African Post-2015 Position and the Continent’s Role in the Negotiations,” Broker,
April 23, 2014, http://thebrokeronline.eu/Articles/Africa-an-increasingly-powerfulpost-2015-player.
51 Intervention by Counsellor Mohamed Khalil, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the
UN, for the 8th Meeting of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development
Goals, February 3–7, 2014, http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/
documents/6425egypt2.pdf; and “South Africa and the Post-2015 Development
Agenda,” proceedings report, Institute for Global Dialogue, December 2013.
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BEIJING BEIRUT BRUSSELS MOSCOW WASHINGTON
Page 114 of 141
The Core Concept and Its Subtypes
Page 115 of 141
core concept and its
Staffan I. Lindberg
No. 1 Apr, 2009
Copyright: The author.
Published on behalf of the Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP) by the
Overseas Development Institute, 111 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JD,
The APPP Discussion Paper series is edited by Richard Crook, Professorial Fellow,
Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RE, UK
The Africa Power and Politics Programme is a consortium research programme
funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with additional
support from Irish Aid, for the benefit of developing countries. The views expressed
in this publication are those of the author and not necessarily those of DFID, Irish Aid
or the Programme as a whole.
Accountability: the core concept and its subtypes
Staffan I. Lindberg ∗
Accountability is a central concept in comparative politics. Yet its growing
popularity in a number of applied fields, including development policy, has
resulted in a dilution of its content and introduced an undesirable semantic
confusion. This paper argues that it may still be possible to recover from this
state of affairs, by resisting ‘conceptual stretching’ as recommended by Giovanni
Sartori. The paper contributes with a synthesized approach based on a widely
recognized set of core features of accountability, and provides a typology of
subtypes with examples. Implications for empirical research include the
importance of distinguishing between accountability and responsiveness, and the
difficulty of aggregating findings about different subtypes of accountability to
construct general conclusions in causal form.
1 Making Sense of Accountability
The concept of accountability has a long tradition in both political science and financial
accounting. In political science, John Locke’s theory of the superiority of representational
democracy built on the notion that accountability is only possible when the governed are
separated from the governors (Locke, 1690/1980; cf. Grant and Keohane, 2005). It was also a
major concern for the fathers of the American constitution, and few areas have been as
fundamental to thinking about the political system in America as accountability (e.g. Finer,
1941; Friedrich, 1940; Dubnick and Romzek, 1993).
The central idea from that time is still with us: when decision-making power is transferred
from a principal (e.g. the citizens) to an agent (e.g. government), there must be a mechanism
in place for holding the agent to account for their decisions and if necessary for imposing
sanctions, ultimately by removing the agent from power. In accounting, the concept’s long
tradition is more limited in scope, referring to financial prudence and accounting in
accordance with regulations and instructions (e.g. Normanton, 1966; Barton, 2006), but the
principle of delegating some authority, evaluating performance and imposing sanctions is
essentially the same.
In the last 10 to 15 years, however, the concept of accountability has become fashionable not
just in expanding circles of political scientists and economists but among the broader
community of scholars and practitioners concerned with such diverse areas as administration,
development, business ethics, governance, international organizations, policy networks,
democratization, civil society, and welfare state reform. To illustrate this growth with an
example from just one sub-field: when Schmitter and Karl (1991) contended that
accountability was the central key to most definitions of democracy, their claim was met with
overwhelming indifference and occasional expressions of hostility (cf. Schmitter, 2004). A
decade and a half later, a quick search with any of the academic search engines using
‘accountability’ in combination with ‘democracy’ or ‘democratization’ generates literally
hundreds of results. Expanding the search to cover related fields in the social sciences, one is
confronted with a dizzying number of entries, illustrating the magnitude of the explosion of
articles on accountability in its various forms.
Assistant Professor, University of Florida (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Predictably, this proliferation has resulted in a myriad of meanings and dimensions associated
with the concept of ‘accountability’. To make matters worse, the international donor
community and their veritable crowds of consultants have picked up on this trend in their
focus on ‘good governance’ and added their (not always politically independent) peculiarities
to the conceptual landscape. I write ‘make matters worse’ because of the inherent dangers of a
byzantine conceptual nightmare leading not only to stretching (Sartori, 1970, 1984, 1991) but
to severe confusion about what the core meaning of accountability is, accentuated by donorinspired
reformulations divorced from sound research practices.
One may reply ‘so what?’ since examples abound of ‘essentially contested concepts’ (Gallie,
1958; Collier et al., 2006) which have produced both interesting and fruitful theoretical
debates and spurred further empirical research. This paper is not an argument against such
informed engagement in advancement of key concepts in the social sciences. Rather, it is an
effort to escape the dangers of ‘hi-jacking’ established concepts and endowing them with new
meanings and dimensions which dilute their currency and create ambiguity, vagueness, and
collective semantic confusion.
There is an important difference between a debate over the advantages and disadvantages of a
few clearly delineated alternative definitions, and uncontrolled, myopic, and unrelated
conceptual diversification. There are real dangers and costs to the conceptual confusion which
can follow such developments. Indeed, if and when a concept takes on too many and at least
partly contradictory meanings it loses its value as an analytical instrument. Studies using
different notions of a concept such as accountability, and which arrive at different results,
cannot be directly compared and therefore at best risk engaging in what can be likened to a
‘dialogue of the deaf’ rather than constructive theoretical and conceptual advance. At worst,
results are transplaced from one meaning to the other resulting in false conclusions.
Are we at that point with regard to accountability? Perhaps not, but the current state of affairs
bears an uncanny resemblance to the situation regarding ‘diminished subtypes’ in the study of
democratization not long ago. For a while, scholars were constantly issuing new more or less
helpful labels of democratically sub-optimal systems of rule. Collier and Levitsky (1995)
reportedly stopped counting at 550 different ‘democracy with adjectives’ when reviewing the
literature in the 1990s. 1 We have not gotten that far yet in descriptive labels of accountability
but after reviewing a substantial portion of the literature I have nevertheless counted well
beyond 100 different ‘subtypes’ and usages. It may well be that the battle is already lost and
we will soon see the abandonment of accountability as an analytical construct in favour of
more precise alternative concepts.
Yet, ‘accountability’ may still be useful if we are able to organize its usage appropriately. The
key argument of this paper rests on the understanding that accountability is one of several
methods of constraining power and thus subordinate to the concept of power in the classical
typological sense (Sartori, 1970, 1984, 1991). As such, it has a conceptual core. However, the
internal structure of the concept of accountability in terms of its subtypes (such as political,
bureaucratic, legal, professional, financial, and societal accountability) requires a typological
theory where differences have important methodological implications. There are implications
not only for the study of different subtypes but also for the extent to which conclusions based
on the study of one subtype can be extended beyond that domain.
In short, the argument in this paper is that while the various subtypes can be accommodated
within one general definition, they each have an internal logic and separate domains
Examples range from ‘limited democracy’ (Archer, 1995: 166), to ‘restricted democracy’
(Waisman, 1989: 69), ‘protected democracy’ (Loveman, 1994), and ‘tutelary democracy’
(Przeworski, 1986). Some scholars have argued that some labels are misleading since they are
negations of democracy, for example Joseph’s (1997: 367-8) ‘virtual democracy’.
Lindberg, Accountability 2
necessitating alternative empirical approaches to analysis. Hence, causal arguments based on
studies of accountability on one level of analysis, using a particular type of concept, do not
necessarily apply to other types and levels.
In an effort to facilitate an informed and somewhat more orderly and consistent usage of
accountability, this paper ventures through a few familiar stages of concept formation. This
paper thus first clarifies a few fundamentals about concept formation and comparison. The
structure of the concept of accountability is then analysed and the implications in terms of
appropriate empirical strategies and distinctions are drawn, based on the development of an
exhaustive typology of the subtypes of accountability.
2 A clarification of terms, concepts, and phenomena
It may be advisable to begin with a few fundamentals in order to avoid misinterpretations of
the following argument. In reference to what is sometimes called the semantic triangle, there
is no necessary linkage between i) a particular term like ‘accountability’, ii) the conceptual
construct of the beholder, and iii) the empirical phenomenon to which it refers. Present day
post-positivists of various inclinations 2 build much of their critique of mainstream approaches
on this realization. 3
Second, if theory is always coloured by observation – and I believe it is – there is a critical
relationship between theory and observation. Not every observation can support a theory and
accordingly, not all theories are equally good. But any causal or descriptive theory must have
empirical referents so that we can make observations. Theory should always be evaluated on
its own terms, but without empirical implications it is simply not a theory; it is an untestable
assumption at best, and a metaphysical belief at worst – except if it concerns theories in
political philosophy (cf. King, Keohane and Verba, 1994). This is a stance informed by
Popper’s proposition that empirically falsifiable theories are the evidence of scholarship
(Popper, 1953/1999: 57ff). Any concept is inherently analytical while concepts used in social
science, according to this argument, must lend themselves towards empirical evaluation. 4 This
is not to say that we can always observe the referents of a concept directly, of course, or that
we should only be concerned with ‘measurable but trivial’ aspects of social reality. 5
For some particularly useful – though not unproblematic – critiques of positivism, see Bourdieu
(1977), Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1967/1986), Flyvbjerg (2000), Garfinkel (1984), and Giddens (1982,
But Pierce (1931-58), Ogden and Richards (1923) and de Saussure (1915/1974) recognised it long
ago and few modern positivists persist in assuming any kind of objective relationship between a
term, the concept we have in mind and the phenomena we try to measure. Rather, as argued
effectively by Sanders (2002: 54-63), modern mainstream social science scholars have found ways
to adapt while retaining the strengths of the positivist tradition. For example, while our
conceptualizations always condition our observations – thus, if we define ‘swans’ as white birds we
will miss the black Asian variant of swans – the conclusion is that we need more precise and
explicit specifications of concepts, not less. Hence, the indeterminate relationship between
terminology, concepts and reality, and the ‘softness’ of certain phenomena that we wish to study, do
not either make social scientific endeavour impossible, or force all of us to become concerned only
with ‘emic’ meanings.
The discussion here moves between theory and concept as if these were interchangeable. This is not
strictly so but the principles discussed are applicable to either. Concepts are important building
blocks for theory, but many concepts are theoretically ‘loaded’ and sometimes even involve causal
relationships, as in explanatory typologies. There is not room to go into that discussion here,
To take an example from the natural sciences, the concept of gravity (a concept that is a whole
causal theory in itself, by the way) has empirical implications we can observe; but gravity itself
cannot be observed. Similarly, in most instances we must do with less than perfect empirical
referents and data (whether quantitative or qualitative) for evaluation of our theories in the social
Lindberg, Accountability 3
2.1 Classic concept formation
Classic concept formation is hierarchical and aims for mutually exclusive definitions. It
involves identifying the attributes that are co-jointly necessary and sufficient (in the
descriptive sense, not to be confused with necessary and sufficient causal factors). In the logic
of classical understanding of concepts therefore, all defining characteristics must be present in
an object in order for it to be classified as an instance (Collier and Mahon, 1993; Coppedge,
2002, 2005; Munck, 2001; Sartori, 1984; Schedler, 2001). The defining characteristics are
necessary minimum criteria that must be present in full; if one or more characteristics are
missing, the object in question is simply classified as ‘not belonging’. When all criteria are
present, that is fully sufficient to make it an instance of the category.
Table 1: Classical category: apples
Superior: Apples A B C
Sub-Types: Red Apples A B C D
Green Apples A B C E
Yellow Apples A B C F
The organization of classical categories builds on what Sartori (e.g. 1984: 23) refers to as
intension and extension: intension refers to defining characteristics while extension refers to
objects to which it applies. It follows that the more and precise characteristics one attaches to
a concept, the fewer the objects to which it will apply. 6 This is what some philosophers have
held to be a ‘law of inverse variation’ (e.g. Angeles, 1981: 141). Hence, there is a hierarchy of
concepts, such that red, green and yellow apples are categories of apples, which in turn belong
to the class of fruits along with bananas, oranges and so on. Fruits are part of a superior
category of foodstuffs and we can go on. Sartori (1970: 1040) refers to this as the ‘ladder of
abstraction’ but in line with Collier and Mahon (1993: 846) I think it is better labelled ‘ladder
of generality’: the further up the ladder the fewer defining characteristics (intension) and the
larger number of objects referred to (extension).
2.2 Alternatives to conceptual ‘stretching’
What is to be done when a concept such as accountability (that once upon a time had a
commonly defined core set of characteristics) is applied in new contexts? Assuming we agree
it is a classical concept, 7 and if scholars are concerned with conceptual integrity one should
sciences in order to address non-trivial issues. This cannot be used as an excuse for advancing
theories that are not testable in principle, however.
This is not true in an absolute sense, however. The number of objects a concept refers to is a matter
of empirical investigation, not analytical deduction (cf. Munck, 2004) but in practical terms the
reasoning holds in virtually all cases and is therefore useful.
In terms of the structure of concept formation, there are three principal and fundamentally different
concepts: classical, radial, and family resemblance concepts. It could possibly be argued that
accountability belongs to the radial conceptual group rather than the classical, but for the sake of
simplicity and in order to prevent distraction from the main argument, that discussion is not pursued
here. For a discussion of the different structures of concepts, see for example: Adcock (2005),
Collier and Mahon (1993), Coppedge (2005), Goertz (2006), Lakoff (1987), Marsteintredet (2007),
Munck (2001), Ostiguy (1993), Sartori (1984), and Schedler (2001).
Lindberg, Accountability 4
follow Sartori’s advice and move up the ladder of generality. The answer could be something
like: accountability belongs to a class of concepts under the more general category of
‘methods of limiting power’ (others being, for example, devolution of power, violence,
economic pressure, public shame, and anarchy). When a phenomenon in a new context does
not squarely fit the definition of accountability, one moves up the ladder of generality to a
superior category, thus avoiding conceptual stretching. To go back to the metaphor: red
apples and oranges are not comparable as instances of apples, but they are comparable as
instances of fruit.
Classical concept formation thus follows a neat and simple set of rules, not only for
categorization but also for comparison. In deciding on what basis a set of cases should be
compared, the defining characteristics are used for classification – not for explanation. The
methodological implication should perhaps be obvious: apples cannot, or should not, be
compared with regard to their ‘appleness’ as an explanation for why humans tend to favour
one type over another. Classical concepts initially dichotomise, distinguishing between
objects that clearly are, and those that are not ‘A’: a binary 0/1 which lends itself to standard
small-N comparative methods, Boolean analysis, and maximum likelihood estimation
techniques. Subtypes of classical concepts, however, can be more numerous and are all
complete instances of the general category. Classical subtypes are therefore nominal
categories (not more or less, just different) versions of the type in question. Religions, for
example Islam and Christianity, are not more or less religions but nominally different
instances, or subtypes. If we think of various kinds of accountability as subtypes in the
classical sense, this applies to instances of various types of accountability (political, financial,
legal, bureaucratic, and so on). None of them represent more or less accountability but
different types of accountability.
Classical concepts allow for more flexibility than it may seem at first, although only if they
are used with care and conscious crafting. What is sometimes forgotten is that while from the
perspective of the superior concept these subtypes are only nominally different (i.e. they are
not instances of more/less of for example accountability) they can nevertheless have other
interesting qualities and/or effects that are matters of degree. Among full democracies,
subtypes distinguished by electoral systems are known to have various effects such as higher
levels of participation and women’s legislative representation in countries using proportional
representation (e.g. Lijphart, 1984, 1994, 1999; Lindberg, 2004, 2005; Norris, 2004). All are
variants of full democracy.
Second, if one rather wishes to measure the impact of various ‘levels of accountability’
between systems, it is appropriate and fully legitimate to shift unit of analysis. This point
about classical categorizations is sometimes missed in the literature (e.g. Marsteintredet,
2007: 3-5). Instead of using criteria for what accountability is to select the universe of cases,
one picks a set defined by something else, e.g. local community political systems,
relationships between courts and district assemblies, citizen-bureaucrat relationships in the
land sector, or another topic. Level (and/or kind) of accountability can then be conceptualised
as qualities that these units of analysis have to a greater or lesser degree (making them
variables at ordinal or interval level). The point is that instead of restricting the universe of
cases to objects that are instances of accountability relationships (when that is conceptualised
as the unit of analysis), the universe of cases is defined by a different set of criteria which
present a range of cases which have the potential to display certain qualities – in this case
accountability relationships. Another possibility is to create a new concept and the social
sciences are full of more or less useful and more or less unknown conceptual innovations. 8
The danger is of course isolation and incommensurability with findings from earlier studies but
when timely and useful it can launch important new research directions such as Hyden’s (1992)
suggestion to move from focusing on how the government rules (or fails to rule) to study how
Lindberg, Accountability 5
The third solution, which is very common (and much disliked by Sartori and his followers), is
to redefine the existing concept, by dropping some characteristics and sometimes adding
others instead. Reading the now vast literature on accountability with various typologies
covering virtually everything from policy networks in the international community (Grant and
Keohane, 2005) to community governance of crime in some particular localities in Britain
(Benyon and Edwards, 1999), this seems to be the dominant trend. 9 It produces a Byzantine
complexity of conceptual innovation and variation that makes the serious political scientist
inclined either to abandon the concept of accountability or to simply dismiss the bulk of the
work based on it.
2.3 Layers of conceptual complexity
The above discussion applies only to aspects of concept formation which have to do with the
internal structure of concepts, which should not be confused with other aspects. The internal
structure is relatively uncontroversial and unproblematic for most concepts. For example, if
we decide to study countries, legal courts, local governments, legislatures, political parties, or
some other of the many other units of analysis in political science, the categorization of ‘ins’
and ‘outs’ is not often controversial. The same goes for many of the more specific qualities, or
factors, that we may want to include: the number and categories of bills enacted by the
legislature, participation measured as voter turnout, electoral systems, women’s legislative
representation, levels of education and wealth, and the list goes on. But a fair number of
concepts are complex, multifaceted, multidimensional, and often contested. These tend also to
be the ‘big’ concepts used for categorization such as democracy, civil society, legitimacy, and
the concept of concern here: accountability. Hence, we need to pay sufficient attention to the
identification of the core conceptual attributes of accountability writ large before developing
a theory of its differentiation in terms of subtypes and discussing the methodological
implications that follow.
3 The Fundamental Notion of Accountability
If potentially overlapping, multilayered, and multidimensional – what is this polysemantic
concept of ‘accountability’? The fact that a growing number of varied definitions is being
used, in a literature ranging from ethnographic interpretations of idiosyncratic local meanings
to highly technical financial auditing techniques, should perhaps caution us against even
trying to find a common denominator. 10 It would anyway be impossible to discuss all the
‘governance’ actually takes place, laying the foundation for the whole new paradigm of ‘good
Another technique frequently used when one or two characteristics are missing for a class of
objects, is to create ‘diminished sub-types’. In the democratization literature this has been fairly
standard, as mentioned above, and involves a danger of creating an ever larger set of diminished
subtypes with unclear relationships. Strictly speaking, ‘diminished’ subtypes are not instances of
the superior category. For example, accountability minus the right of the principal (e.g. the people)
to sanction the agent (e.g. a politician, a chief, a family head) is a ‘diminished subtype’ but again is
not really an instance of accountability since there is no enforceable obligation by the agent to be
responsive to the principal (but more on this later). This, however, in effect means one is departing
from classical concepts and moving into the land of family resemblance categorization. See more
See for example, Ackerman (2003), Anderson (2002), Baldwin (2007), Barton (2006), Browder
(1975), Considine (2002), Crook and Manor (1998), Day and Klein (1987), Shor (1960), Finer
(1941), Finn (1993), Fisse and Braithwaite (1993), Foweraker and Krznaric (2002), Goetz and
Jenkins (2001, 2005), Hagiopan (2007), Hobolt and Klemmensen (2008), Hood et al. (1999),
Hunhold (2001), Keefer (2007), Kelly (2003), Klijn and Koppenjan (1997), Knouse (1979),
Mainwaring and Scully (1995), Mansbridge (1998), March and Olsen (1989), Marsh and Rhodes
(1992), Maskin and Tirole (2004), McCubbins, Noll, and Weingast (1987), McKinney (1981),
Lindberg, Accountability 6
attempts in the literature to define and operationalise accountability. Yet, a discussion of some
of the meanings in current use can help us narrow down and identify core attributes of the
root concept – whether or not we think it is classical in nature. 11
3.1 Accountability, authority, and democracy
Bentham’s principle – ‘The more strictly we are watched, the better we behave’ (quoted in
Hood et al., 1999) – perhaps best captures the idea behind the necessity of accountability. As
Nietzsche recognised, we give an account only when it is requested, and only when that
request is backed up by power (Butler, 2005: 11). This is the reason that accountability has for
long been a key issue in constitutional scholarship (Smith and Hague, 1971: 38).
At a very fundamental level, then, accountability is closely associated with authority though
not necessarily political authority. Puppets acting as extensions of someone else’s will are not
legitimately objects of accountability (even if puppets sometimes become scapegoats in
practice). That is why accountability is different from ‘responsiveness’. While a certain
degree of responsiveness is often hailed as a desirable characteristic of leadership, in its
extreme form it removes both leadership as such and any need for accountability mechanisms.
Only actors with some discretion to make authoritative decisions can be the object of
accountability relationships (e.g. Christiano, 1996: 219; Hyden, 1992: 14; Thomas 1998). In
Burke’s succinct statement on representative accountability: ‘Your representative owes you
not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices
it to your opinion’ (1774, cited in Brevold and Ross, 1960: 148).
Accountability, hence, is associated with the act of discretionary governing, typically
understood as the authoritative allocation of resources and exercising control and coordination
(e.g. Dahl, 1971; Kooiman, 1993; Marsh and Rhodes, 1992; Rosenau and Czempiel, 1992).
This in turn points toward the need for an identifiable locus of authority, as argued famously
by J.S. Mill:
‘Responsibility is null and void when nobody knows who is responsible. … there must
be one person who receives the whole praise of what is well done, the whole blame of
what is ill’ (Mill, 1861/1964: 332).
This of course, does not negate the possibility that having overlapping layers of accountability
relationships creates a stronger bulwark against undesirable use of authority, as argued by e.g.
Day and Klein (1987), Finn (1993), Fisse and Braithwaite (1993), Romzek and Dubnick
(1987), and Stone (1995). But it explains why accountability always has been central to
democratic theory, to the extent that it is sometimes posited that democracy necessitates
What Locke captured in the statement that all men are, or ought to, be considered equal as
political beings 12 (Locke 1689-90/1970, 322) and what Dahl calls the ‘idea of intrinsic
Moncrieffe (1998), Mulgan (2000, 2003), Normanton (1966), Norris (2004), O’Loughlin (1990),
Oliver (1991), Olukoyun (2004), Painter-Morland (2006, 2007), Philips and Berman (2007), Radin
and Romzek (1996), Rakner and Gloppen (2003), Rhodes (1986), Rose-Ackerman (1978), Rosenau
(1992), Schmitter (2004), Shenkin and Coulson (2007), Smith and Hague (1971), Stirton and Lodge
(2001), Stone (1995), Thomas (1998), Thynne and Goldring (1987), Tsai (2007), Walker (2002),
Weber (1999), Woods and Narlikar (2001), Woods, (2001) and Wrede (2006).
See footnote 7 for approaches other than the ‘classical’ one.
At the time, of course, ‘men’ meant just free men, thereby excluding the vast majority of the
population. Without any intention of downplaying its significance, this difference is a matter of
citizenship and not democratic principle, hence, it is not central to the discussion here.
Lindberg, Accountability 7
equality’ (1989: 85) is the fundamental condition of rule by the people. 13 It is equal access to
the decision-making process 14 rather than approval of the substantive decision by everyone,
which satisfies the right to self-government (Ake, 2000). Yet, the etymological understanding
of democracy leaves out the other side of the coin (Sartori, 1987: 30). Rule of the people is
exercised over the very same people and to be workable any modern form of national
democracy must be representative, 15 thus representation became grafted upon democracy
(Hindess, 2000). This understanding of democracy induces a particular kind of vertical
political accountability (Schedler, 1999), and with modern notions of democracy in larger
more complex political systems, accountability has taken on a paramount significance (e.g.
Moncrieffe, 1998; Schmitter and Karl, 1991).
Yet there are non-democratic as well as democratic types and mechanisms of accountability
(cf. Grant and Keohane 2005); accountability as an idea pre-dates modern democracy and is
wider in scope than ‘democratic’ accountability. For now, we thus have to stay on the more
3.2 The core concept
At that general level, there seems to be a general agreement on four characteristics of all types
of accountability. Unless I am mistaken, more or less all of the literature referred to in this
paper agrees that the following should be included in the defining characteristics of any form
1. An agent or institution who is to give an account (A for agent);
2. an area, responsibilities, or domain subject to accountability (D for domain);
3. an agent or institution to whom A is to give account (P for principal);
4. the right of P to require A to inform and explain/justify decisions with regard to D;
5. the right of P to sanction A if A fails to inform and/or explain/justify decisions with
regard to D.
These defining characteristics may be expressed in various ways 16 but seem to capture the
core of the concept. It should be noted at the outset that none of these conditions specify that
these relationships have to be formally codified or that the agents and institutions involved are
formal institutions or hold an official office. Even if the individuals involved are indeed office
holders such as bureaucrats in a state body, their accountability relationship may be in part or
wholly informal. The director of operations in any given department may also be the informal
patron of a number of employees who in turn as clients are given areas of responsibility. For
example, a chief transport officer may be charged with making sure that the transport needs of
the director’s main rival who is also a Director competing with him or her for the slot as
It is not within our scope here to go into depth on each of these related concepts. For a good
discussion of the notion of how the ‘people’ can be conceived, see Dahl (1989: Ch. 9).
Political participation in the decision-making process may indeed take many forms in a democracy,
ranging from localised and indulgent deliberations among friends to national and cross-national
advocacy, and the selection of representatives for the execution of power. But in terms of
democracy as a political system of national self-rule, it is the latter that is a necessary component
and hence the focus here.
Even ‘participatory’ democracy as a formula for decision-making translates into a representative
form as only the few can in practice lead, speak and contribute to mass meetings – or the meetings
would be endless – whilst the many are confined to listen, evaluate and vote just as in a
representative democracy proper (e.g. Dahl, 1989: 277). There are indeed other venues for
participatory approaches to inclusion that can feed into a policy process before the decision-point
but that renders participatory approaches a supplement, as opposed to an alternative, to
For a very similar reasoning, see Philip (2009).
Lindberg, Accountability 8
deputy chief director, are never met. If and when the rival’s transport works well, so that he or
she can claim successes in his operations and thus threaten to overtake the Director in his or
her quest for the higher office, the informal client will be called to justify and explain, and
will possibly be sanctioned. In any case, the client will be monitored and evaluated and, if
Condition 1 and 2 together mean that an identifiable person or office must have some
discretionary power over a certain domain, and that domain is subject to accountability. This
neither implies that the agent or institution is elected or otherwise democratic, nor does it
mean that the agent or institution is necessarily accountable for all of the domains it has
discretionary decision-making power over. Condition 3 and 4 together mean that there is
another agent or institution with a de facto right to require the agent or institution A to explain
and justify decisions and actions with regard to the specified domain. Again, it is not assumed
that P is elected or acting necessarily in the public interest (cf. Philip, 2009: 30). Another
important thing to note at this stage is the wider applicability of this conceptualization to
many others, in particular those that build on democratic principal-agent theory.
Accountability is then usually thought of as P (the people) holding A (elected official)
accountable for actions with respect to P itself. However, in many accountability relationships
P is holding A accountable with respect to x, y or z denoted above as D. For example,
ministers can hold top-level bureaucrats accountable for their decisions and actions with
respect to lower-level bureaucrats, or other state agencies. In other words, it should not be
assumed that those affected by decisions are necessarily the ones who have the right to hold
the decision-maker(s) accountable.
Finally, condition 5 stipulates the crucial condition of the right of P to sanction A if the
request to inform and/or explain and justify actions is not honoured to P’s satisfaction. More
restrictive definitions that exclude condition 5 are rare but Smulovitz and Peruzzotti (2000) in
their conceptualization of ‘societal accountability’, for example, exclude any right to sanction
agents and institutions. This effectively removes any obligation on decision-makers and actors
to inform, justify and explain their actions beyond what they themselves are comfortable with,
or feel obliged to disclose. This reduces the notion of accountability to meaning little if
anything in terms of holding to account, since the decision-makers are holding themselves to
account only as much as they like.
A few things regarding condition 5 should be noted. The right to sanction in its most general
sense is limited to the right to punish a failure on the part of A to provide information and
justification. Many definitions of accountability (e.g. Schedler, 1999) take this further to
require that the right to sanction A’s decisions and actions is part of the definition. But an
important distinction should be made between the right to sanction A for failure to provide
requested information and justifications for decisions and actions taken, and the right to
sanction agents or institutions (A) for the content or effects of such decisions and actions. At
its core, accountability necessitates only the right to sanction A for failure to provide
information and justify decisions. The right of P to also sanction the content of decisions and
actions by A, is a possibility that if present adds additional leverage for the P but is not strictly
necessary for the concept of ‘accountability’.
There are many examples of institutions of accountability that can illustrate this. Take the
ombudsman office present in many contemporary democracies. It acts as a principal
monitoring elected officials as well as bureaucracies and has the right to request that those
agents to provide information about their decisions and actions as well as calling them to
justify their actions. Ombudsman-offices typically do not have the right to sanction the agents
for their actions as such but can use the courts to sanction offices if the requested information
and/or justifications are not provided. Similarly, in many situations elected officials can
demand bureaucrats to provide full information about their decisions and actions and to
justify them, but as long as a holder of a bureaucratic office has not acted in direct
Lindberg, Accountability 9
contravention of the formal rules and instructions, the elected official (the P in this case) is
not allowed to sanction the bureaucrat with degradation, loss of office and so on.
The right to sanction failures by A also has another implication. There must exist a set of
criteria for measuring accountable behaviour (cf. e.g. Knouse, 1979; Schedler, 1999). If there
are no standards or measurable expectations of A with respect to A’s duties in the domain (in
terms of information, justification, and perhaps decisions and performance), there can be no
accountability. If one has no clear picture of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable
behaviour, it cannot be evaluated and sanctioned. This means, further, that there must be some
form of evidence of accountable behavior.
Together these implications are crucial in drawing a line between instances of empirical
phenomena which belong to accountability and those which do not. In private client-patron
networks, for example, there are often only blurred or poorly defined expectations of
behaviour on the part of the patron, whereas the client can be confronted with rather direct
demands. The client’s right to demand information and justification from the patron is
sometimes very weak, or non-existent in these highly asymmetrical power relationships, and
then it ceases to be an accountability relationship. If the client can request such information,
there are often no or few means available to verify it, in which case the level of accountability
is low. No one really knows what the patron does for the various individual clients other than
the patron him/herself. Thus, even if the client or a set of clients regularly can extort some
form of compensation, protection, or personal favours from the patron, that does not make
such relationships instances of accountability.
If and when the patron-client network is at least partly transposed into a more public form
where the asymmetry of power is more level, for example when the patron becomes an
elected official, the clients get principal-status as voters and can demand information as well
as justification on explicitly stated standards such as promises made during election
campaigns. There will also be more verifiable measures of behaviour such as to facilitate
accountability. This example is not intended to mean that only elected officials can be held
accountable, nor does it imply that informal relationships such as patron-clientelism can never
involve accountability relationships. In any setting, with any set of actors, however, the five
conditions and the implications discussed above with regard to measurable standards and
verifiable information must be met to a sufficient degree.
I am acutely aware that this still leaves substantial room for interpretation in terms of what
‘sufficient degree’ means. I am not sure this can be resolved at this level of generality,
however. What is sufficiently explicit and measurable in terms of duties of information and
justification, and in terms of verifiable indicators, must probably be established in contextspecific
analyses of specific subtypes of accountability. It is the principle of the argument,
however, that is important to keep in mind.
3.3 A stylised time-line
The five conditions also translate into a stylised time-line of accountability as depicted in
Figure 1. Decision-making power over a particular D must first be transferred to A by P. A
then acts in this capacity and P can thereafter require A to provide information and
justification for these actions. If A fails to do so, P has the right to sanction A.
Lindberg, Accountability 10
Figure 1: Time-Line of Accountability
t 0 t 1 t 2 t 3 t 4
from P to A
A acts using
A adheres or not
The foregoing elaborations, perhaps somewhat prolonged, have nevertheless been necessary
to avoid misunderstandings along the way which might prevent a full understanding of the
4 Types of accountability
Formulations based on types of accountability use a variety of criteria to make analytical
distinctions. However, it seems to me that the existing approaches, despite sometimes using
various labels, can be organised along three dimensions.
A basic notion is the distinction between different sources of the accountability relationship.
Is the accountability holder, or principal, internal or external to the one being held to account
(e.g. Romzek and Dubnick, 1987; Radin and Romzek, 1996; Gormley and Balla, 2004)? For
example, in a bureaucracy where superiors are holding subordinates accountable for their
tasks the source is internal. In the relationship between voters and representative, the source is
external to the legislature or executive being held to account.
But it is not only the source of accountability that is important. The degree of control which
the principal exercises over the power holder is also important. It is probably preferable to
keep our conceptual tools open to some extent to the possibility that the degree of control
varies. That variation can be a source of explanation and interest in itself. Studies of voting
and democracy have, for example, spent considerable energy on trying to find out exactly
how much control voters in fact exercise over their representatives (e.g. Cox, 1997; Powell,
2000). Nevertheless, there are some fundamental differences between, say, financial auditing
exercising extremely detailed control based on specific rules and regulations, and patronclient
accountability, where control is typically diffuse and highly contextual.
The third critical dimension in distinguishing types of accountability relates to the spatial
direction of the accountability relationship (cf. Schedler et al., 1999, among others).
Shareholders exercise an upward form of vertical accountability when they hold business
executives accountable for the company’s performance. When politicians hold bureaucracies
and their leaders accountable for the implementation of decisions they have taken, the
accountability relationship runs downward in a vertical fashion. Finally, when the legislature
engages in executive oversight or the constitutional court reviews acts adopted by the
legislature, this is a form of accountability that runs horizontally ‘among equals’ (O’Donnell,
4.1 Typology and examples
Using these three dimensions as analytical distinctions, we end up with 12 different
types of accountability relations as depicted in Table 2.
Lindberg, Accountability 11
Table 2: Sub-types of accountability
Source of Strength of Vertical Horizontal
Control Control Upward Downward
Internal High Business Bureaucratic Audit
Low Client-Patron Patron-Client Peer Professional
External High Representative Fiscal Legal
Low Societal Political Reputational
This table is an elaboration and synthesis of typologies found in Gormley and Balla (2004), Radin and
Romzek (1996), Scott (2000), Smulovitz and Peruzzotti (2000), Grant and Keohane (2005), Mulgan
(2003), and Schedler (1999).
Business accountability is characterised by a P that is part of the organization typically as
shareholders, holding A (executives) to account for producing profit. The degree of control is
high, with details of operations provided, and it runs vertically upward. The control is not
necessarily detailed but in principle the P can require any form of information regarding the
business. Sometimes business accountability serves as an inspiration for enhancing
accountability in other spheres. It is often this type of accountability that serves as the model
for various experiments with user-influence in efforts to expand local democracy and improve
the quality of service delivery. But a user is not empowered in the same way as a shareholder
and users also typically have a range of interests, whereas shareholders are joined by their
vested interest in the successful operation of the company and in expanding profit. Hence, the
business model of accountability, and studies thereof, cannot be transferred directly to other
Bureaucratic accountability is also characterised by an internal P and high control, but runs
downwards from top managers to lower levels. As long as it is a question of bureaucratic
accountability (and not informal patron-clientelism) the object of accountability is following
rules and regulations in carrying out the instructions regarding implementation decided upon
at higher levels. Managers have the right to request any information regarding the operations
of the bureaucracy from lower levels, but not from higher-ups. The fact that seniors can
influence and often directly decide about juniors careers, promotion and conditions of work,
according to the formal hierarchy of a bureaucratic organization, gives this form of
accountability its special character.
Audit accountability is a particular sub-type of business or bureaucratic accountability in that
it is horizontal rather than vertical. An internal P is holding other offices and office holders
within the same state organization accountable, typically for financial accuracy and prudence.
Again the level of control and ability to require very specific information is a defining feature
but auditors cannot request just any kind of information but only such that lies within the
formal purview of the audit.
In all organizations we can find informal forms of accountability relationships which run both
upwards as in client-patron accountability and downwards as in patron-client accountability.
Both are characterised by a low degree of control, with adjacent information scarcity and
limited means of monitoring and evaluation. A client can request information and hold the
patron accountable for delivery of the kind of benefits promised as part of the bargain but is
usually limited to that. If the client is a more powerful broker as representative of an
Lindberg, Accountability 12
important group of clients for example, or has a special favoured relationship with the patron,
that client can often hold the patron accountable for certain issues outside of the direct
exchange relationship. The exact dynamic typically revolves around the importance of the
loyalty of the client to the patron since the main leverage for the client tends to come from
threatening (implicitly or explicitly) to exit. The reverse is also true.
In the patron-client form of accountability, the patron can usually hold the client accountable
for a wide range of things, given that what the patron can offer the client can be of substantial
value, be it material rewards, personal safety, career opportunities, or improved status and
fame. In poorer societies, material rewards and low-skill jobs are naturally more compelling
for a client than in more economically developed countries. To buy client loyalty of poor
people takes a lot less resources than paying off more affluent individuals. Add to that the
informal norm that someone who helps to sustain your living is a ‘father’ to whom you must
always be loyal (not uncommon in poor nations), and it becomes evident that the power of the
patron to hold the client accountable can be strong. On the other hand, the patron’s right and
ability to require very specific information regarding all facets of the client’s activities is
fairly low compared to the subtypes of accountability discussed above. The individualised
nature of patron-client forms of accountability and the absence of formal rules along with the
exit option for clients seems to distinguish this form of accountability from other subtypes, to
the extent that generalizations from studying clientelism are unlikely to be generalisable to
A sometimes formal (as in academic and professional organizations) and sometimes informal
(as among peers and cohorts of professionals) form of horizontal accountability is
professional/peer accountability. The degree of control is low since peers can only require
rather unspecific information about very narrow segments of the activities of their colleagues.
The P (the peers) are internal and accountability relationships are horizontal, focusing, like
audits, on safe-guarding the organizational or occupational reputation. Among the factors that
distinguish this subtype of accountability are the respect for colleagues and voluntary selfsubmission
to being held accountable that come with professional peer reviewing. Academics
evaluating each other’s work and results, and lawyers’ associations certifying and monitoring
peers, are examples. Thus, the dynamic of this subtype of accountability is also not easily
transferred to other spheres and findings from studies of peer professional accountability are
unlikely to be useful for generalizations across to other subtypes.
Accountability relationships with external Ps are fundamentally different. Representational
accountability in democratic political systems puts the citizens as P and their elected
representatives as A in a vertical relationship running upwards. The degree of control is
relatively high. Several forms of participation are available to citizens for the purposes of
requiring information and holding elected leaders accountable. Voting is one such activity
that can have dramatic consequences for representatives but it is non-continuous and in
between electoral periods other means are more effective. Calls, meetings, demonstrations,
letters, emails, writing to newspapers, and mobilization of community and action-groups are
just some of them.
The nature of elected office gives citizens a powerful position and they can require specific
and detailed information about a broad range of issues covered in political activity, including
often the private affairs of the representatives. Yet, in modern states with large citizenries, a
rather large-scale collective action is often required to exercise effective accountability, not
the least when using the tool of voting. Thus special collective action problems frequently
affect the P’s ability to use the formal rights of requesting information and holding elected
representatives accountable. These distinguish this form of accountability from many of the
Lindberg, Accountability 13
In addition, the formal rules and set-up of political institutions differ in ways which impact on
accountability relationships. First-past-the-post electoral rules in single-member districts, for
example, facilitate a closer and more direct accountability relationship between citizens and
their representative to the national legislature but effectively also undermine the viability of
using elections to demand new policy by voting for new or smaller parties. These are just
illustrations to exemplify that generalizations regarding both the causes and the effects of
representational accountability are unlikely to travel well to other subtypes. Comparisons
between findings from studies of representational accountability and other subtypes are
probably not, therefore, going to form a sound basis for higher-order theory.
Fiscal and Legal accountability respectively can be both vertical downward and horizontal. In
both cases the degree of control is typically high and very detailed. When fiscal accountability
runs vertically downward an external P such as a legislature holds various ministries,
departments, and agencies (MDAs) fiscally accountable. Another case is when a state
bureaucracy holds an implementing agency such as a non-profit business fiscally accountable.
But when the legislature holds the executive accountable for fiscal prudence and budgetary
constraints, the relationship is horizontal rather than vertical. The ministry of finance can also
hold other ministries fiscally accountable and again the relationship is horizontal. We find a
similar situation with regard to legal accountability. Most instances of legal accountability run
vertically downward. Various judicial institutions, being the external P, hold citizens,
businesses, politicians and others accountable for lawful behaviour. But when judicial
institutions hold other state institutions accountable such as when a constitutional court, or in
some countries supreme court judges, investigate the lawfulness of executive decisions and
acts by the legislature, the accountability relationship is horizontal.
An external P does not always go hand in hand with a high degree of control, however.
Societal accountability is involved where civil society and the media Take actions aimed at
forcing political, bureaucratic, business and legal decision-makers to give information on, and
justifications for, their actions. The strength of control is typically relatively weak in these
cases but also varies with contextual factors such as legislation (e.g. whether there is a
freedom of information act or not). It is distinguished from representational accountability in
that the Ps are more or less ‘self-appointed’ in their role and first have to convince the As and
the surrounding society of this arrangement. It is therefore tenuous and circumscribed by the
fact that the ‘right’ of the P to hold the A accountable is in the end based on voluntary action
and the degree of control is therefore low and rather diffuse.
Political accountability is the vertical-downward variant of external accountability with
relatively weak control. Politicians’ degree of control over MDAs is by its very nature
relatively weak. Bureaucracies are large and handle thousands of issues every day, while
politicians are few and have several competing priorities as well as severe time and cognitive
constraints. In consequence, there are only a very limited number of bureaucratic decisions
and processes which politicians can attend to in any detail, giving the bureaucracy significant
Reputational accountability’s most significant expression runs horizontally among peers or
peer institutions which are external to the agent. It is another form of diffuse and even indirect
accountability whereby the agent’s reputation among other equals can be damaged if s/he is
deemed to act in contradiction with established norms and procedures. It is highly dependent
on informal norms amongst participants, both agents and principals, and thus even within this
category the causes and effects of successful accountability are likely to vary significantly.
Lindberg, Accountability 14
4.2 Accountability and responsiveness
Before concluding, a final note is important. Responsiveness is often proclaimed to be one of
the key aspects of accountability (e.g. Schedler, 1999; Walker, 2002; Kelly, 2003; Barton,
2006). There is a crucial difference here between the two types of vertical accountability. In
vertical-upward forms of accountability this is exactly the point. Share-holders, clients,
citizens, and societal organizations are the P’s who, after delegating decision-making power
and discretion to agents such as executive, patrons, and politicians, monitor their behaviour
and hold them to account for their failure or success to provide information and justifications
for their decisions (and sometimes the outcomes of those decisions as well). If dissatisfied, the
P’s can sanction the A’s by way of ‘throwing the rascals out’ or simply expose the A’s actions
and failures. The sought-after effect is to make agents responsive to the wishes and interests
of the principals.
Vertical-downward is in principle very different. In these cases, the P (who transfers power to
the agent) is not directly involved in the accountability relationship. Instead it is the A who in
turn holds an implementing agent (I) accountable for its actions toward P, or even a principal
behind P. For example, a president (P) appoints and transfers decision-making power to the
head of an agency (A) who holds the bureaucracy of that agency (I) accountable for carrying
out directives towards citizens (principals behind P) who elected the president (P). In this
case, you may argue that the ultimate principal is the citizens, but even if we limit ourselves
to considering the president as the P, the triangular relationship has consequences. The I is
held accountable by A but is supposed to be mainly responsive to P (or even the principal
behind P, i.e. the citizens) and must still act within the law and bureaucratic regulations. This
means that lower-level bureaucrats are in fact not supposed to be responsive to A or P if and
when A’s or P’s directives go against either bureaucratic rules or the law.
This is particularly evident in the case of legal accountability. The highest ranking judges are
typically appointed by the executive and/or legislature with the mission to uphold the law. In
a democratic system it is reasonable to argue that citizens are the ultimate P who elects the
politicians who in turn appoint judges. In exercising their mandate, however, judges are not
supposed to be responsive to either politicians or citizens. Indeed, they are expected to do the
exact opposite: to exercise their decision-making power independently of the interests and
wishes of various Ps in the interest of the rule of law. Judicial institutions generally are held
accountable for being non-responsive.
Similarly, vertical accountability in the form of periodic voting may, for example, be a blunt
instrument of policy-specific accountability since voters typically can only chose between a
few alternatives that represent complex mixes of a number of policies, from defence to child
care. But vertical accountability exercised in the form of frequent interactions between the
legislator elected in single-member constituencies and constituents can be very effective in
achieving policy-specific responsiveness (cf. Goetz and Jenkins 2005). In short,
responsiveness may be the desired outcome of some types of accountability but far from all,
and should not be understood as integral to accountability itself.
5 Concluding on a cautionary note: empirical analysis and
Where does all this leave us? A key argument of this paper is that accountability as an
analytical concept can be saved despite the current state of conceptual stretching and
Byzantine confusion. The way to save the concept and its usefulness for empirical analysis is
to follow the classic approach to concept formation. In this approach, five key characteristics
denote the conceptual core of accountability: 1) An agent or institution who is to give an
account (A for agent); 2) an area, responsibilities, or domain subject to accountability (D for
Lindberg, Accountability 15
domain); 3) an agent or institution to whom A is to give account (P for principal); 4) the right
of P to require A to inform and explain/justify decisions with regard to D; and 5) the right of
P to sanction A if A fails to inform and/or explain/justify decisions with regard to D.
Beyond these five characteristics, this paper argues that there are three additional
characteristics which can take on two values each (absence or presence), and these generate
twelve subtypes or categories of accountability (Table 2). Each subtype occupies its distinct
conceptual terrain denoting specific empirical phenomena. We have seen that the differing
characteristics of these twelve subtypes lead to difficulties in making generalizations above
the level of subtypes with regard to causes and effects.
In addition, it should be noted that most accountability theories assume linear cause-effect
relationships, as well as rational and informed decision-making aimed at producing collective
goods. These are not viable empirical assumptions. Moreover, as the conceptual theory above
reveals, they are not theoretically consistent where the object of accountability may have as
its primary focus the maximization of non-objective functions such as the maintenance of
relationships and loyalties (cf. Philips and Berman, 2007). There is a second reason why
effective accountability should not be assumed to have only positive or desired outcomes. The
incentives for agents to be responsive to principals as a consequence of effective
accountability relationships can also lead to agents taking actions and decisions that are easily
‘sold’ or popular, rather than doing what is right or necessary (Maskin and Tirole, 2004:
1035). In the extreme, agents may undermine the functioning of a society’s economy and the
rights of minorities and other groups.
This is also the time for a cautionary note on the extent to which empirical analysis can lead
us towards comparative generalizations. There are several important implications for
empirical research on accountability implied in the reasoning above and it is time to make
them more explicit, along with some additional complications of a more general sort.
First, we cannot scale or even rank order the various types of accountability. The differences
amongst them are nominal and it makes no sense to use qualitative or quantitative techniques
designed for scale or ordinal variables in analysing outcomes comparatively across sub-types.
Second, each type of accountability has its designated functions and is compatible with
certain situations only; no one is a panacea for all kind of problems of restraining power.
Besides the logical reasoning in this paper, contextual factors naturally play a role in this but
it remains important to recognise the different nature of the problems which various types are
suited to address. Legal accountability is designed to insulate agents from influences and from
pressures to be responsive to principals for example, while bureaucratic accountability is
more suited to detailed and very direct responsiveness by subordinates. Representative
accountability allows for broad mandates allowing sufficient (yes, sometimes excessive)
discretion to agents to deal with unforeseen and complex matters according to their judgment.
An empirical analysis that mistakes different types of accountability for more or less
accountability, is unlikely to be very helpful.
Third, within each of the subtypes of accountability, one can find many variations in levels. It
is possible to construct measures of levels (ordinal or scale, qualitative or quantitative) for
each of these types. Yet it remains crucial not to assume that a measurement instrument,
criterion, or approach used for one type of accountability is necessarily very useful for
gauging levels of accountability in another type. We need to develop separate measurement
schemes and instruments for each type.
Fourth, for the reasons given, one has to be very cautious in terms of making generalizations
and transposing causal inferences from the study of one subtype of accountability to another.
As long as the causal inference involves defining characteristics with varying values, the
Lindberg, Accountability 16
inference can only be generalised to other subtypes with the same defining ‘profile’. In most
cases, the unique profile of a subtype is derived from the characteristics relevant to the causal
inference; hence, results cannot be generalised to other subtypes without appropriate testing.
However, there is a further problem which applies to the aggregation of findings even within
As long as one’s ontology with regards to causation stays within the typical statistical
worldview (i.e. assuming unit homogeneity, symmetric and linear causation, and independent
effect of individual factors), studies of the same subtype of accountability can be compared
across contexts and generalizations be drawn from an accumulated set of results. However,
many contemporary theories about politics theorize rather more complex and varied models
of causation where equifinality, multifinality, multiple conjectural causal models, path
dependencies, increasing returns, and diffusion figure prominently (cf. Brady and Collier eds.
2004; Gerring, 2001; George and Bennett, 2005; Hall, 2003; Mahoney and Goertz, 2006;
Ragin, 1987). When trying to serve the aim of accumulation of knowledge, efforts at
combining results from such studies to create more general statements about either the causes
of, or the effects of one particular subtype of accountability seem to be inherently implausible,
or at least very much more difficult.
A path dependency argument, for example, negates the independent effect of individual
factors as well as the causal ontology of multiple conjunctural causation insofar as the latter
approach models factors identified with a particular outcome as current and historically
independent (Pierson, 2000). Therefore, even if studies are carried out on the same subtype of
accountability but are based on different causal ontologies, the results will again not be a
sound basis for comparative generalizations.
Finally, empirical reality also has a way of making things complicated. In most societies and
political systems, various accountability relationships have been established at various points
in time with the effect that even single institutions have multiple layers of various types of
accountability. This makes it hard to discern and then disentangle when and where a
particular type of accountability relationship is engaged, and to establish the level of
accountability produced. That it is not easy does not justify not doing it, however, since the
alternative is fraught with risks of systematic measurement errors (conflating the presence of
one type of accountability with zero accountability for example) which may undermine the
validity of the analysis.
In a more practical sense, it stands to reason to believe that the problems and prospects of
accountability differ. What is required for a society to imbibe a general culture of
expectations of accountability from the state and its political institutions is one thing; the
specific issues relating to vertical political accountability between citizens and representatives
are another; how horizontal political accountability in terms of the legislators’ providing
effective oversight of the executive works a third; what factors and incentives make for
effective vertical bureaucratic accountability a fourth question, and so on. It cannot be
assumed that what works in one area will also work in another.
There may even be causal relationships among these issues, such as the prevalent logic of
vertical political accountability (exercised through voting and other means), which can impact
on how much horizontal political accountability is provided in a particular political system. If,
for example, vertical political accountability is centred on local and perhaps even personal
issues, there are few incentives for legislators to invest time and resources in the provision of
executive oversight. Conversely, an electorate putting a high premium on a clean and wellmonitored
executive will impact positively on horizontal accountability. Such a situation in
which both vertical and horizontal political accountability have different goals is in turn likely
to impact on the nature and level of bureaucratic accountability. In short, it is vital to be aware
Lindberg, Accountability 17
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Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. I 2015 The Fundamentals
The ComeUnity ReEngineering
II The Adolescent Law Group Q-2 2015
Landmark Cases in US
Juvenile Justice (PA)
IV The First Amendment Project Q-4 2015
Vol. II 2016 Strategic Development
V The Fourth Amendment Project Q-1 2016
Landmark Cases in US
Juvenile Justice (NJ)
VII Youth Court Q-3 2016
The Economic Consequences of Legal
Vol. III 2017 Sustainability
IX The Sixth Amendment Project Q-1 2017
The Theological Foundations of
US Law & Government
XI The Eighth Amendment Project Q-3 2017
The EB-5 Investor
Vol. IV 2018 Collaboration
XIII Strategic Planning Q-1 2018
The Juvenile Justice
Legislative Reform Initiative
XV The Advocacy Foundation Coalition Q-3 2018
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for Drug-Free Communities
Landmark Cases in US
Juvenile Justice (GA)
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Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. V 2019 Organizational Development
XVII The Board of Directors Q-1 2019
XVIII The Inner Circle Q-2 2019
XIX Staff & Management Q-3 2019
XX Succession Planning Q-4 2019
XXI The Budget* Bonus #1
XXII Data-Driven Resource Allocation* Bonus #2
Vol. VI 2020 Missions
XXIII Critical Thinking Q-1 2020
The Advocacy Foundation
Endowments Initiative Project
XXV International Labor Relations Q-3 2020
XXVI Immigration Q-4 2020
Vol. VII 2021 Community Engagement
The 21 st Century Charter Schools
XXVIII The All-Sports Ministry @ ... Q-2 2021
XXIX Lobbying for Nonprofits Q-3 2021
Advocacy Foundation Missions -
Advocacy Foundation Missions -
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2022 ComeUnity ReEngineering
The Creative & Fine Arts Ministry
@ The Foundation
XXXIII The Advisory Council & Committees Q-2 2022
The Theological Origins
of Contemporary Judicial Process
XXXV The Second Chance Ministry @ ... Q-4 2022
Vol. IX 2023 Legal Reformation
XXXVI The Fifth Amendment Project Q-1 2023
XXXVII The Judicial Re-Engineering Initiative Q-2 2023
The Inner-Cities Strategic
XXXVIX Habeas Corpus Q-4 2023
Vol. X 2024 ComeUnity Development
The Inner-City Strategic
XXXVXI The Mentoring Initiative Q-2 2024
XXXVXII The Violence Prevention Framework Q-3 2024
XXXVXIII The Fatherhood Initiative Q-4 2024
Vol. XI 2025 Public Interest
XXXVXIV Public Interest Law Q-1 2025
L (50) Spiritual Resource Development Q-2 2025
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In The Age of Big Data
LII Interpreting The Facts Q-4 2025
Vol. XII 2026 Poverty In America
In The New Millennium
LIV Outcome-Based Thinking Q-2 2026
LV Transformational Social Leadership Q-3 2026
LVI The Cycle of Poverty Q-4 2026
Vol. XIII 2027 Raising Awareness
LVII ReEngineering Juvenile Justice Q-1 2027
LVIII Corporations Q-2 2027
LVIX The Prison Industrial Complex Q-3 2027
LX Restoration of Rights Q-4 2027
Vol. XIV 2028 Culturally Relevant Programming
LXI Community Culture Q-1 2028
LXII Corporate Culture Q-2 2028
LXIII Strategic Cultural Planning Q-3 2028
The Cross-Sector/ Coordinated
Service Approach to Delinquency
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Vol. XV 2029 Inner-Cities Revitalization
Part I – Strategic Housing
(The Twenty Percent Profit Margin)
Part II – Jobs Training, Educational
and Economic Empowerment
Part III - Financial Literacy
LXVII Part IV – Solutions for Homelessness Q-4 2029
The Strategic Home Mortgage
Vol. XVI 2030 Sustainability
LXVIII Social Program Sustainability Q-1 2030
The Advocacy Foundation
LXX Capital Gains Q-3 2030
LXXI Sustainability Investments Q-4 2030
Vol. XVII 2031 The Justice Series
LXXII Distributive Justice Q-1 2031
LXXIII Retributive Justice Q-2 2031
LXXIV Procedural Justice Q-3 2031
LXXV (75) Restorative Justice Q-4 2031
LXXVI Unjust Legal Reasoning Bonus
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Vol. XVIII 2032 Public Policy
LXXVII Public Interest Law Q-1 2032
LXXVIII Reforming Public Policy Q-2 2032
LXXVIX ... Q-3 2032
LXXVX ... Q-4 2032
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The e-Advocate Monthly Review
Transformational Problem Solving January 2018
The Advocacy Foundation February 2018
Native-American Youth March 2018
In the Juvenile Justice System
Barriers to Reducing Confinement April 2018
Latino and Hispanic Youth May 2018
In the Juvenile Justice System
Social Entrepreneurship June 2018
The Economic Consequences of
Homelessness in America S.Ed – June 2018
African-American Youth July 2018
In the Juvenile Justice System
Gang Deconstruction August 2018
Social Impact Investing September 2018
Opportunity Youth: October 2018
Disenfranchised Young People
The Economic Impact of Social November 2018
of Social Programs Development
Gun Control December 2018
The U.S. Stock Market January 2019
Prison-Based Gerrymandering February 2019
Literacy-Based Prison Construction March 2019
Children of Incarcerated Parents April 2019
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African-American Youth in The May 2019
Juvenile Justice System
Racial Profiling June 2019
Mass Collaboration July 2019
Concentrated Poverty August 2019
De-Industrialization September 2019
Overcoming Dyslexia October 2019
Overcoming Attention Deficit November 2019
The Gift of Adversity December 2019
The Gift of Hypersensitivity January 2020
The Gift of Introspection February 2020
The Gift of Introversion March 2020
The Gift of Spirituality April 2020
The Gift of Transformation May 2020
Property Acquisition for
Organizational Sustainability June 2020
Investing for Organizational
Sustainability July 2020
Biblical Law & Justice TLFA August 2020
Gentrification AF September 2020
Environmental Racism NpA October 2020
Law for The Poor AF November 2020
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Biblically Responsible Investing TLFA – January 2021
International Criminal Procedure LMI – February 2021
Spiritual Rights TLFA – March 2021
The Theology of Missions TLFA – April 2021
Legal Evangelism, Intelligence,
Reconnaissance & Missions LMI – May 2021
The Law of War LMI – June 2021
Generational Progression AF – July 2021
Predatory Lending AF – August 2021
Community Assessment NpA – September 2021
Accountability NpA – October 2021
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The e-Advocate Quarterly
Crowdfunding Winter-Spring 2017
Social Media for Nonprofits October 2017
Mass Media for Nonprofits November 2017
The Opioid Crisis in America: January 2018
Issues in Pain Management
The Opioid Crisis in America: February 2018
The Drug Culture in the U.S.
The Opioid Crisis in America: March 2018
Drug Abuse Among Veterans
The Opioid Crisis in America: April 2018
Drug Abuse Among America’s
The Opioid Crisis in America: May 2018
The Economic Consequences of June 2018
Homelessness in The US
The Economic Consequences of July 2018
Opioid Addiction in America
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The e-Advocate Journal
of Theological Jurisprudence
Vol. I - 2017
The Theological Origins of Contemporary Judicial Process
Scriptural Application to The Model Criminal Code
Scriptural Application for Tort Reform
Scriptural Application to Juvenile Justice Reformation
Vol. II - 2018
Scriptural Application for The Canons of Ethics
Scriptural Application to Contracts Reform
& The Uniform Commercial Code
Scriptural Application to The Law of Property
Scriptural Application to The Law of Evidence
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Legal Missions International
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Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. I 2015
God’s Will and The 21 st Century
III Foreign Policy Q-3 2015
Public Interest Law
in The New Millennium
Vol. II 2016
V Ethiopia Q-1 2016
VI Zimbabwe Q-2 2016
VII Jamaica Q-3 2016
VIII Brazil Q-4 2016
Vol. III 2017
IX India Q-1 2017
X Suriname Q-2 2017
XI The Caribbean Q-3 2017
XII United States/ Estados Unidos Q-4 2017
Vol. IV 2018
XIII Cuba Q-1 2018
XIV Guinea Q-2 2018
XV Indonesia Q-3 2018
XVI Sri Lanka Q-4 2018
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Vol. V 2019
XVII Russia Q-1 2019
XVIII Australia Q-2 2019
XIV South Korea Q-3 2019
XV Puerto Rico Q-4 2019
Issue Title Quarterly
Vol. VI 2020
XVI Trinidad & Tobago Q-1 2020
XVII Egypt Q-2 2020
XVIII Sierra Leone Q-3 2020
XIX South Africa Q-4 2020
XX Israel Bonus
Vol. VII 2021
XXI Haiti Q-1 2021
XXII Peru Q-2 2021
XXIII Costa Rica Q-3 2021
XXIV China Q-4 2021
XXV Japan Bonus
Vol VIII 2022
XXVI Chile Q-1 2022
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The e-Advocate Juvenile Justice Report
Vol. I – Juvenile Delinquency in The US
Vol. II. – The Prison Industrial Complex
Vol. III – Restorative/ Transformative Justice
Vol. IV – The Sixth Amendment Right to The Effective Assistance of Counsel
Vol. V – The Theological Foundations of Juvenile Justice
Vol. VI – Collaborating to Eradicate Juvenile Delinquency
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The e-Advocate Newsletter
Genesis of The Problem
Strengthening Assets v. Eliminating Deficits
2012 - Juvenile Delinquency in The US
Philosophy/Application & Practice
Expungement & Pardons
Pardons & Clemency
2013 - Restorative Justice in The US
2014 - The Prison Industrial Complex
25% of the World's Inmates Are In the US
The Economics of Prison Enterprise
The Federal Bureau of Prisons
The After-Effects of Incarceration/Individual/Societal
The Fourth Amendment Project
The Sixth Amendment Project
The Eighth Amendment Project
The Adolescent Law Group
2015 - US Constitutional Issues In The New Millennium
Page 135 of 141
2018 - The Theological Law Firm Academy
The Theological Foundations of US Law & Government
The Economic Consequences of Legal Decision-Making
The Juvenile Justice Legislative Reform Initiative
The EB-5 International Investors Initiative
2017 - Organizational Development
The Board of Directors
The Inner Circle
Staff & Management
Bonus #1 The Budget
Bonus #2 Data-Driven Resource Allocation
2018 - Sustainability
The Data-Driven Resource Allocation Process
The Quality Assurance Initiative
The Advocacy Foundation Endowments Initiative
The Community Engagement Strategy
2019 - Collaboration
Critical Thinking for Transformative Justice
International Labor Relations
God's Will & The 21st Century Democratic Process
The Community Engagement Strategy
The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative
2020 - Community Engagement
Page 136 of 141
The Nonprofit Advisors Group Newsletters
The 501(c)(3) Acquisition Process
The Board of Directors
The Gladiator Mentality
The Collaborative US/ International Newsletters
How You Think Is Everything
The Reciprocal Nature of Business Relationships
Accelerate Your Professional Development
The Competitive Nature of Grant Writing
Assessing The Risks
Page 137 of 141
Page 138 of 141
About The Author
John C (Jack) Johnson III
Founder & CEO
Jack was educated at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Rutgers
Law School, in Camden, New Jersey. In 1999, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue
greater opportunities to provide Advocacy and Preventive Programmatic services for atrisk/
at-promise young persons, their families, and Justice Professionals embedded in the
Juvenile Justice process in order to help facilitate its transcendence into the 21 st Century.
There, along with a small group of community and faith-based professionals, “The Advocacy Foundation, Inc." was conceived
and developed over roughly a thirteen year period, originally chartered as a Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Educational
Support Services organization consisting of Mentoring, Tutoring, Counseling, Character Development, Community Change
Management, Practitioner Re-Education & Training, and a host of related components.
The Foundation’s Overarching Mission is “To help Individuals, Organizations, & Communities Achieve Their Full Potential”, by
implementing a wide array of evidence-based proactive multi-disciplinary "Restorative & Transformative Justice" programs &
projects currently throughout the northeast, southeast, and western international-waters regions, providing prevention and support
services to at-risk/ at-promise youth, to young adults, to their families, and to Social Service, Justice and Mental
Health professionals” everywhere. The Foundation has since relocated its headquarters to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and been
expanded to include a three-tier mission.
In addition to his work with the Foundation, Jack also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law & Business at National-Louis
University of Atlanta (where he taught Political Science, Business & Legal Ethics, Labor & Employment Relations, and Critical
Thinking courses to undergraduate and graduate level students). Jack has also served as Board President for a host of wellestablished
and up & coming nonprofit organizations throughout the region, including “Visions Unlimited Community
Development Systems, Inc.”, a multi-million dollar, award-winning, Violence Prevention and Gang Intervention Social Service
organization in Atlanta, as well as Vice-Chair of the Georgia/ Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Partnership, a state-wide
300 organizational member, violence prevention group led by the Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University and The
Original, Atlanta-Based, Martin Luther King Center.
Attorney Johnson’s prior accomplishments include a wide-array of Professional Legal practice areas, including Private Firm,
Corporate and Government postings, just about all of which yielded significant professional awards & accolades, the history and
chronology of which are available for review online. Throughout his career, Jack has served a wide variety of for-profit
corporations, law firms, and nonprofit organizations as Board Chairman, Secretary, Associate, and General Counsel since 1990.
Clayton County Youth Services Partnership, Inc. – Chair; Georgia Violence Prevention Partnership, Inc – Vice Chair; Fayette
County NAACP - Legal Redress Committee Chairman; Clayton County Fatherhood Initiative Partnership – Principal
Investigator; Morehouse School of Medicine School of Community Health Feasibility Study - Steering Committee; Atlanta
Violence Prevention Capacity Building Project – Project Partner; Clayton County Minister’s Conference, President 2006-2007;
Liberty In Life Ministries, Inc. – Board Secretary; Young Adults Talk, Inc. – Board of Directors; ROYAL, Inc - Board of
Directors; Temple University Alumni Association; Rutgers Law School Alumni Association; Sertoma International; Our
Common Welfare Board of Directors – President)2003-2005; River’s Edge Elementary School PTA (Co-President); Summerhill
Community Ministries; Outstanding Young Men of America; Employee of the Year; Academic All-American - Basketball;
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