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Service Delivery: Review of Impact and Effectiveness of Transparency and Accountability Initiatives

By: Anuradha Joshi

The focus of this report by the Transparency & Accountability Initiative is to examine initiatives that are explicitly oriented towards monitoring and demanding accountability for performance in services that are widely accepted as entitlements (either ‘hard’ entitlements through laws or ‘soft’ ones through government rules or widely accepted norms). In doing so, this report differentiates what one calls accountability initiatives (which involve monitoring and sometimes sanctions) from the broader literature on participation and citizen engagement. While participatory approaches might be part of accountability initiatives or accompany them, they go beyond accountability work.

It should be clarified that this review is not exhaustive, but illustrative. We have excluded from this report the literature that deals with accountability initiatives related to budgets and freedom of information (unless they deal specifically with health and education) because these are the focus of separate sub-sector papers. With these preliminary boundary setting parameters in place, the next section reviews the expected impacts of accountability and transparency initiatives and the theories of change that underpin them. Section III forms the bulk of the paper and presents the evidence on impact. The methodologies used in assessing evidence are discussed in Section IV and the key factors that seem to be common to successful initiatives briefly outlined in Section V. In the concluding Section (VI) we point to some of the main gaps in the literature on impact where research efforts need to be focussed.

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Uploaded on: Nov 25, 2015
Last Updated: May 11, 2017
Year Published: 2010
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