Exploring the social accountability concept a literature review

Miet Kuppens
IOB working paper 2016.06

Increasing pressure on governments to demonstrate accountability and transparency has contributed to a multiplication of social accountability initiatives that aim to improve public accountability by strengthening civic engagement and good governance through a myriad of tools such as citizen monitoring or SMS-based complaint systems. The popularity of social accountability initiatives has not been matched with progress in the development of a sound theory on social accountability. This working paper presents existing literature on the topic of (social) accountability and highlights the shortcomings and gaps. We conclude with a brief outline of our own research agenda, which is based on the most recent conceptual development in social accountability literature, namely the distinction between tactical and strategic approaches towards social accountability which has been introduced by Jonathan Fox.

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