New Modes of Governance and Democratic Accountability
Title: New Modes of Governance and Democratic Accountability
Citation: Government and Opposition, 2011, 46, 1, 126-144
This article raises the question of the link between new modes of governance and democratic accountability. Our definition of new modes of governance as modes refers to public policy-making that includes private actors and/or public policy-making by public actors that takes place outside legislative arenas, and which focuses on delimited sectoral or functional areas. We identify three different ways in which new modes of governance can be subjected to democratic control: parliamentary control, multi-stakeholder involvement and control through the public sphere and civil society at large. Building on a number of the illustrative insights from various empirical projects, we find that, in our cases at least, new modes of governance did not have a negative effect on existing patterns of democratic accountability. At the same time, neither multi-stakeholder policies nor the participation of civil society guarantee democratic accountability in the strict sense. We provide some evidence to the effect that, if institutionally linked to democratically elected governmental bodies – meaning, in this context, the European Parliament – it is more likely that negative externalities deriving from public policy-making in functionally segmented arenas of the European Union's multilevel polity will be dealt with in a more systematic way.
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