Privatization and Accountability
Privatization has become a dominant feature of twenty-first century governance, creating concerns about diminished accountability and oversight. However, to properly evaluate such concerns or respond to them, we must distinguish between two different forms of accountability: accountability as after-the-fact redress and accountability as managerial oversight. Moreover, each of these forms of accountability may be pursued through a variety of mechanisms or processes, including not only criminal or civil lawsuits but also reform of the contracts that are the engine of privatization; increased public participation in the design, award, and monitoring of contracts; and changes to the organizational structure or institutional culture of contractor firms. Accordingly, this review lays out a taxonomy for analyzing privatization so that we can more comprehensively evaluate both the impact of privatization and the efficacy of possible responses. In addition, the review highlights recent privatization trends in the military and foreign aid arenas, the potential impact of such privatization on core values, and possible responses.
Laura Dickinson, Privatization and Accountability, 7 Ann. Rev. Soc. Sci. 101 (2011).
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