Who Are the Policy Workers, and What Are They Doing? Citizen’s Heuristics and Democratic Accountability in Complex Governance

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3 Scopus citations


Two critical questions for the study of accountability in contemporary governance focus attention on the citizen rather than the official: (a) whether a citizen can identify a policy worker, that is, the bureaucrat, contractor, or other actor acting in pursuit of a legislated policy goal, and (b) whether a citizen can evaluate policy work that is done to further a legislated policy goal. Both identification and evaluation prove tricky to assess in a great deal of policy work, rendering accountability an important, but elusive, democratic value. This article provides a framework for analysts to understand when and why accountability works from a citizen’s perspective and what incentives policy workers and politicians have when it does.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-234
Number of pages27
JournalPublic Performance and Management Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management

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