Accountability in the Context of Private Policy Implementation

  • Lien NguyenEmail author
  • Pragati Rawat
  • John C. Morris
Living reference work entry


Accountability is a complex term to define, covering various ideals of efficiency and effectiveness against which public managers are assessed. Furthermore, the concept is always evolving: gauging and ensuring public servants are accountable to multiple, and often competing norms is a challenging process. Privatization has gained popularity as a solution to the perceived ineffectiveness of the government. Ironically, the involvement of the private sector in implementing public policies also draws attention to the complexities of accountability. This chapter explores the academic literature of these crosscutting issues. The findings are organized into three parts: (1) an overview of privatization, (2) accountability issues in the context of privatization, and (3) recommendations for public institutions/administrators to handle accountability issues. Three types of accountability issues are identified: blurred accountability, goal conflict, and monitoring. To ensure nongovernmental providers satisfy the public’s preferences, public authorities have to be active players in these processes instead of passive bystanders, that is, players who equip themselves with expertise and capacity in public management and maintain an ongoing dialogue with nongovernmental partners.


Privatization Extended accountability Accountability issues Blurring accountability Conflicting accountability Monitoring issues 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Service, Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.PennsylvaniaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Helen Dickinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New South WalesCanberraAustralia

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