Accountability in Crises and Public Trust in Governing Institutions
By Lina Svedin
Routledge – 2012 – 218 pages
This book examines how efforts to exert accountability in crises affect public trust in governing institutions. Using Sweden as the case study, this book provides a framework to analyse accountability in crises and looks at how this affects trust in government.
Crises test the fabric of governing institutions. Threatening core societal values, they force elected officials and public servants to make consequential decisions under pressure and uncertainty. Public trust in governing institutions is intrinsically linked to the ability to hold decision-makers accountable for the crucial decisions they make. The book presents empirical evidence from examination of the general bases for accountability in public administration, and at the accountability mechanisms of specific administrative systems, before focusing on longer term policy changes. The author finds that within the complex web of bureaucratic and political moves democratic processes have been undermined across time contributing to misplaced and declining trust in governing institutions.
Accountability in Crises and Public Trust in Governing Institutions will be of interest to students, scholars and practitioners of public policy, political leadership and governance.
1. Introduction Part 1: Examining accountability: An empirically grounded theoretical framework 2. Accountability mechanisms in governance 3. A comparative outlook on accountability mechanisms and the exertion of accountability in crises Part 2: Accountability in Sweden: A historical institutional examination 4. Swedish Crises 1931 -2005 5. Mapping three historical developments: crises, accountability, and trust in government 6. Agents in accountability processes – who is held accountable by whom and how? Part 3: Results and trends 7. The formal and informal nature of accountability 8. Public trust in governing institutions 9. Crises, accountability and trust in government: Conclusions
Lina Svedin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah, USA.