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Accountability PoliticsPower and Voice in Rural Mexico$
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Jonathan A. Fox

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199208852

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208852.001.0001

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Unpacking Accountability Politics 1

Unpacking Accountability Politics 1

(p.333) 11 Unpacking Accountability Politics1
Accountability Politics

Jonathan Fox (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This concluding chapter explores several general conceptual propositions, in an effort to contribute to future research that will ‘map’ accountability pathways with greater precision. Empowerment is distinguished from rights, defined in terms of enforceable claims. The chapter also details the problems of ‘low accountability traps’ and the ‘positioning’ of accountability agents in terms of their relationships to state and society. The difficulty of launching pro-accountability ‘virtuous circles’ is addressed with the proposed concept of ‘accountabilities of scale’, drawing on an analogy with ‘economies of scale’. The ‘vertical integration’ of civil society actors takes into account the challenge of scale, followed by a questioning of the ‘power of sunshine’ to leverage accountability outcomes. These concepts offer analytical tools for understanding when voice can change the balance of power by embedding accountability reforms into the state. Meanwhile, millions of citizens are weighing the decision of whether to pursue exit instead.

Keywords:   accountability pathways, empowerment, rights, virtuous circles, low accountability traps, accountabilities of scale, accountability agents, vertical integration, ballot secrecy

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