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Call for Papers: 8th Transatlantic Dialogue Workshop on Accountability

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Rutgers University Newark, Estados Unidos; Bocconi University Milan, Italia

In 2012, the 8th Transatlantic Dialogue will take place on 6–9 June at the Radboud University Nijmegen. Organized jointly by European and American networks, this conference aims to strengthen cooperation between European and American academics.

Conference theme

The theme of the 8th Transatlantic Dialogue is ‘Transitions in Governance’. We are in the midst of an era of transition in systems of public administration. States are faced with significant developments: welfare state reform, a globalising economy, technological innovation, demographic change, urban regeneration, Europeanisation and (e.g. in Central European countries) the transition towards a different type of regime. As a consequence, states face difficult challenges with respect to their systems of public administration.

Dealing with these developments puts a heavy strain on their systems of public administration. They challenge public administration research and teaching to look beyond current institutions and to grasp the shape of emerging varieties of governance.

The conference hosts six workshops on major themes in this significant development. Descriptions of these workshops can be found here.

Submission of abstracts

Participants are invited to submit an abstract of 300-600 words with full contact details. Abstracts must be submitted to the conference organisation (8tad@fm.ru.nl) by 10 January 2012.

Workshop 2: Avoiding, managing, and shifting blame: Accountability processes in modern day government

American co-chair: Suzanne Piotrowski (Rutgers University Newark, USA)

European co-chair: Ileana Steccolini (Bocconi University Milan, Italy)

In the last couple of years, we have witnessed a sharp increase in pressure on government to account for its actions. Whether it is the managing of a crisis, the evaluation report of a low-key policy, or the latest budget proposal, policy makers need to explain what they did and why they did it.

Policy makers can respond in three different ways to these accountability pressures. They can try to avoid having to account for anything at all by, for instance, delegating policies to different organizations or refraining from claiming any responsibility for a newly formulated policy. They can try to manage blame by, for example, manipulating performance indicators so that they can only be held accountable for what was measured (and not for that which was not measured). And if all else fails, they can always try to shift away blame.

In this workshop, we are interested in discussing the empirical and theoretical implications of these tactics. We would like to receive empirically driven papers in which tactics and their effect on the accountability process are described as well as papers in which a more theoretical approach is taken to discuss how accountability processes are closely linked to legitimacy. What happens to the government’s legitimacy if policy makers try to divert accountability? Papers in which both are combined are welcome as well, of course.

-Contacto: Suzanne J. Piotrowski, Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs and Administration

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey



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