Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance
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Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance

Edited by Stephen Elstub and Oliver Escobar

Democratic innovations are proliferating in politics, governance, policy, and public administration. These new processes of public participation are reimagining the relationship between citizens and institutions. This Handbook advances understanding of democratic innovations, in theory and practice, by critically reviewing their importance throughout the world. The overarching themes are a focus on citizens and their relationship to these innovations, and the resulting effects on political equality. The Handbook therefore offers a definitive overview of existing research on democratic innovations, while also setting the agenda for future research and practice.
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Chapter 9: Accountability and democratic innovations

Albert Weale


Accountability requires public officials in a position of responsibility to be answerable for their policy decisions to citizens. A central mechanism of accountability in a democracy is elections. However, elections provide insufficient scope for public participation. In addition, public administration requires accountability in forums other than elections. For these reasons, many democracies have experimented in recent years with democratic innovations, including referendums, mini-publics, collaborative governance and e-governance. However, those same innovations also invite new questions about what accountability means and how it can best be enhanced, particularly in relation to the accountability of citizens to one another. They also prompt questions about the ways in which accountability may be undermined by the misuse of innovative methods of participation.

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