Monday, 30 November 2009

Scaling Up Social Accountability: Accountability Scorecard

Sruti Bandyopadhyay

Strengthening accountability relationships between policy makers, service providers and citizens is at the core of the public accountability effort. After many years of practice, piloting and trial and error, efforts are now increasingly focused on how to scale-up and mainstream these interventions. To address this, I'm proposing a new tool called Accountability Scorecard. An “Accountability Scorecard” would identify and provide information about the factors that determine the long-term success of a Centrally Sponsored/Central Sector Scheme. The score card can be used as a checklist while drafting a new scheme or can be used as a performance measurement tool for already existing schemes.

My initial thoughts are that it should include five elements namely-

1. Strategic Planning,
2. Expenditure Management, Financial Controls and Reporting-Implementation
3. Accountability to Oversight Bodies
4. Monitoring of Service Delivery
5. Handling of Misconduct, Corruption and Maladministration.

Sample questions might include:

* Has adequate/accurate data been collected about the sector and presented in the plan document?
* Does the plan nominate a responsible official for all the activities?
* Does the scheme have a clear guideline for state govt. and autonomous agencies to release a minimum grant amount every month?
* Is there list of districts for which the budget data not available?
* Is the reason for the non availability of the data is also specified?
* Is there a specific set of officers who can be held responsible if the minimum monthly grant does not reach the primary delivery unit (e.g.-schools/panchayat) ?
* Are there mechanisms for dispute resolution without going through the courts?
* Have the state governments’ views been solicited?
* Is the performance management scheme for the bureaucrats linked to the service delivery outputs of the Department?
* What kind of incentive structure is there to compliance with timely delivery of the output?
* Did the Department report adequately on cases of misconduct and corruption in its Annual Report to the Legislature?

And so on...

To start with there would be 50 questions in a score card. Each of which have a "yes/no" answer and each of which should be backed by a more detailed definition to make clear whether the answer is yes or no. A consolidated score can be generated on the basis of this.

Unlike a Community Score Card, here feedback won’t be sought from the local level community. For an example, if a civil society/Research organization wants to develop a scorecard for National Rural Health Mission, then it would invite a panel and the panel should consist of: State Facilitators for National Rural Health Mission, Accountant in the State Department , who is working on NRHM, Representative of a local NGO working on NRHM in the state, NRHM official from Delhi, Representative of an International NGO/organization who has worked on same scheme in different country, Academician. The panel would give their individual scores on each of these 50 questions and thus a scheme can be categorized either as a Non-compliance scheme, or as an Extremely Poor Compliance or a Full Compliance scheme.

For anyone interested in thinking seriously about how to scale-up social accountability efforts, I believe this can be a good beginning of a necessary conversation.

Sruti Bandyopadhyay is a Researcher at Accountability Initiative

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Social Audits: Field Notes from Warangal

Diane L Coffey

Earlier this month, a group of eight students from Princeton University travelled with our professor, Dr. Jeffrey Hammer, from Princeton, New Jersey, USA to Duddungi block in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh, India.

The purpose of our trip was to learn about the social audit process that has been instituted in AP to monitor the implementation of NREGA, the national employment guarantee act. According to the 2005 act, each rural Indian household should be provided with 100 days manual labour per year. A unique feature of the act is that work should be provided on demand. There are other salient features of the act as well, which distinguish it from previous government employment programs. NREGA workers are supposed to be paid the state minimum wage, in cash, within 15 days of completion of a job. The national NREGA guidelines stipulate that social audit audits should be used to monitor NREGA implementation. As yet, however, only AP has done social auditing on a wide scale.

Before travelling to Warangal, a rural district about 5 hours east of Hyderabad, we met with Ms. Sowmya, one of the main coordinators of AP’s social audits. Ms. Sowmya, an activist originally based in Rajasthan with the NGO MKSS, told us about the social audit team and the social audit process. She described a process whereby literate young men (and sometimes women) are recruited from families who have worked on NREGA projects and trained to scrutinize muster rolls and other documents pertaining to NREGA work. These “village social auditors” then worksites and workers’ homes crosschecking the documents, which are obtained using India’s new Right to Information Act. The auditors make notes about discrepancies in payments and measurements, and inform workers about their rights under the act.

The culmination of the social audit process is the social audit forum, an occasion for the social audit team and for villagers who choose to attend to share the findings of the social audit. We Princeton students had the fortunate opportunity to attend a social audit forum while we were in Duddungi. The forum was held outside the block development office. Preparations for the social audit forum began in the morning, with the raising of a large tent, and the assembly of tables and chairs for the attendees. People arrived throughout the morning, and the program got underway around 11am. The employees of the BDO, the district level program officer, members from many levels of the social team, field assistants and technical assistants, villagers, and curious neighbors attended the forum. There was even a police presence; we were told that the last social audit forum in Duddungi had been tense, so this time, extra precautions were taken.

To begin, a member of the social audit team sang a song about the NREGA. After that, different district level resource persons read out complaints from the notes they had prepared about the social audit. The district level program officer moderated the discussion and the block level program assistant took notes. The complaints involved issues of worksite mismeasurement, overreporting of the number of workers, and discrepancies between days worked and wages paid. Some villagers waited several hours for their complaints to be discussed. One woman said that she was waiting to talk to the officials about compensation for an injury that her husband had sustained on an NREGA worksite.

By 5 o’clock, it was beginning to get dark, but the forum was still in full swing. We decided that it was time for us to head back to Hyderabad. As we piled in the cars, we were left with several questions: How will the issues raised at the forum be dealt with? What will happen to the people who spoke out at the forum? Will the implementation of the NREGA be affected by this process? We hope that our analysis of a dataset collected by the Accountability Initiative in 2007 and 2008 about social audits and the NREGA in Andhra Pradesh will help shed light on the answers some of our questions.

We are grateful to the Accountability Initiative and to the Ministry of Rural Development in Andhra Pradesh for arranging this unique opportunity for us to learn more about government accountability and to see a social audit forum in person.

Diane is a student at Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Right to Information: File Notings In, Amendments Out!

Mandakini Devasher Surie

US Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis famously said “sunshine is the best disinfectant”. Right to Information laws or “sunshine” laws, by opening up government decision-making to public scrutiny, bring a much needed dose of sunshine to the otherwise opaque dealings of governments. The last decade has seen an explosion of information laws around the world as governments and civil society recognise the value of providing citizens with access to information. Today there are some 90 countries with laws and regulations that provide citizens with a legal right to access information and records held by government departments. Closer home, the Indian Right to Information Act (RTI Act) of 2005 recently celebrated its 4th birthday. Since its enactment, the RTI Act has been used by a range of people including activists, civil servants, NGOs, lawyers, doctors, students and ordinary citizens. According to a recent study conducted by RAAG (Right to Information Analysis and Assessment Group), in the first two and a half years of the RTI Act, 1.6 million applications were filed in urban areas and an estimated 400,000 applicants from villages made requests for information. Overall, RAAG estimates that in the first 3 years of the RTI Act some 2 million RTIs were filed across the country. This number alone speaks about the value of the law in providing citizens with an avenue to approach and seek answers from governments.

Despite the wide usage of the law there are currently efforts within government to amend the law to exclude key provisions from public access. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the nodal agency responsible for implementing the Act, has recently confirmed that the government is considering amending the law to exempt “file notings” and “frivolous and vexatious” requests for information. File notings are essentially the opinions and notes of civil servants on government files that sum up the decisions taken on a particular matter. You don’t have to think too hard about why bureaucrats do not want you or me to have access to these! As for “frivolous and vexatious” requests, it is really anybody’s guess what such requests may be. Presumably, if I want to know how much money the Municipal Corporation of Delhi spent last year on repairing roads– it may be considered vexatious by the Public Information Officer who has to gather the information but it would certainly not be frivolous.

The key question is who gets to decide what is or is not frivolous or vexatious? In the UK, government departments get a fair number of the so called ‘frivolous’ requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In 2006, the Hampshire Police received a request from “ilikemeninuniform” seeking information on the "eligible bachelors within Hampshire constabulary between the ages of 35 and 49 and details of their email addresses, salary, and pension values". Taking the request in their stride - and with a big pinch of salt - the office replied that they did in fact have 210 eligible bachelors on the rolls but sadly could not give out their personal information! In another case the Ministry of Defence got a request from an ex-sailor wanting to track down "an old Royal Navy recipe for sauteed kidneys and curried meatballs"! There are undoubtedly similar requests in India (which sadly we do not get to hear about) and I imagine they can be annoying but do we really need to amend the Act to deal with them?

These are some of the concerns that were voiced at a dharna organised last weekend in the capital by the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI). In a strong letter to the Prime Minister, activists have affirmed that the “... amendments are not to strengthen the law or improve its implementation. On the contrary...the proposed amendments, if introduced, will emasculate the RTI Act....". “An amendment in the Act would be an obviously retrograde step, at a time when there is a popular consensus to strengthen it through rules and better implementation and not introduce any amendments.” The Department of Personnel and Training has recently said that it will follow a process of public consultation before any amendments are passed. But the question remains as to why these amendments are even necessary? Amendments per se are not bad - if carefully considered and well drafted, amendments can in certain cases improve the implementation of laws, rules and regulations. But amendments designed to fundamentally water down the essence of one of the strongest information laws in the world is simply retrograde. The government would do better to take on board the findings of the recent RAAG study which shows that more than file notings and vexatious requests – weak implementation, lack of training and capacity building and poor records management are the major constraint faced by the governments today.

Amendments to the RTI Act have been on the government’s agenda for quite some time. As early as 2006, civil society groups and leading RTI activists rallied against government attempts to amend the law. Round one went to civil society and to the RTI Act, as the “Save the Right to Information Campaign” caught the attention of the media and successfully stalled the Union Government from pushing through the amendments. The outcome of round two still hangs in the balance. But surely, we can all agree that what we really need is more sunshine not more darkness.

Mandakini Devasher Surie is a Research Associate with the Accountability Initiative.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

AI's New Working Paper - 'Enhancing Accountability in Public Service Delivery Through Social Audits: A Case Study of Andhra Pradesh, India'

Accountability Initiative's new working paper examines the effectiveness of social audit as a tool to enhance accountability.

Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, Ritesh Singh and Vinay Vutukuru measure the impact of social audits on the implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the flagship employment guarantee program of of India, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The main research questions addressed are: what is the impact of social audits on the size of the program and the payment process? Are social audit results a good indicator of the overall quality of program implementation? How does the performance of Karnataka, a neighbouring state, which has not taken up social audit, compare to that of Andhra Pradesh in the overall implementation of the program? And what are the reasons behind the successful scale up of social audits in Andhra Pradesh?

The results show that there is a statistically significant improvement in the size of the program as measured by the mandays generated. There was no statistically significant improvement in the proportion of timely payments, which can be attributed to technical problems in scaling up the payment process. It was found that the qualitative reports provided useful inputs on the process related aspects (performance of functionaries, maintenance of muster rolls etc) that were missing from the quantitative performance reports. It was found that the program is not in a very stable position in Karnataka, given the fact that there has been a decrease in the size of the program in the current year, and a comparison with Andhra Pradesh would not be a fair. An important insight was that the social audit program generated a great deal of public support in Andhra Pradesh, as manifested by the huge turnouts in the sub-district level meetings, which resulted in political support cutting across party lines. Another critical strategy was co-opting the lower bureaucracy in the entire process, so that there were no major problems during roll-out.

The overall conclusion is that social audits are indeed an important tool in building social awareness which results in a greater demand for work which translates into increased size of the program. The process also exposed corruption in the implementation of the program and a total amount of Rs 20 million of program funds was recovered.

The paper recommends that the Andhra Pradesh experiment with social audit can be replicated elsewhere in the country, provided that the learnings from its example are internalized, the program is launched in an incremental manner, and political issues generated by the process are carefully handled. It is specifically recommended that the Government of India should finance a pilot social audit project in two districts in each state of the country, roughly modeled on the Andhra Pradesh example. The states could then do a comprehensive roll out across all districts based on the state-specific learning from the pilot projects.

The paper can be downloaded by clicking here.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Dissent Economics: Thoughts on an inclusive future

Hindol Sengupta

Accept it. Deep down, perhaps even precariously near the surface, in your heart you love the fact that being well-off is slowly returning to vogue. You heap scorn at the fashion weeks (no, you couldn't have missed them because India had four, or maybe five this year) but you are enormously glad that someone, somewhere had enough money in India to celebrate leggy models and largely unwearable clothes so many times.

Chances are you love the fact that the downturn is coming to an end - unless you belong to India's Communist parties and were trashed in the polls - and are delighted to know that you will not lose your job after all.

But, as Jeffery Sachs says, most likely the lessons of the downturn are fast being forgotten and no matter which way you read the alphabet soup of recovery ('L', maybe 'V', why not 'W'?), there is little doubt that bubbles are forming once again even as the first champagne bottles, in a year and a half in some cases, are being uncorked.

So what lessons are being forgotten post the downturn?

In July, in a special issue, The Economist pointed out that how the bubble burst is fundamentally altering economic theory, arguing that macroeconomists, especially central bankers, "were too fixated on taming inflation and too cavalier about asset bubbles".

Now, as the US economy reports growth for the first time in about a year, officially, as some newspapers have reported, ending the "longest since World War II" recession, the question to ask is what forms asset bubbles, why are they ignored and is it possible, somewhere, even at this moment, more asset bubbles are forming but there is little chance that we will know what they are until they burst spectacularly?

The downturn has brought several theories of melting pedestals of finance and macroeconomics and rethinking, more dramatically, the basis of neo-liberal capitalism. The question - many have asked - is, is capitalism now on an irretrievable collision course with the greater common good and has it now been irretrievably proved that left to itself, un-shepherded capitalism is apocalyptic?

The answer of course is yes, and yes.

In our terror-ridden world, economic and political apocalypse is, assuredly, intertwined.

If you peer closely at the debate that surrounds analysis of Wall Street greed to Maoist violence in India's infamous Red Corridor, from terror recruits in dysfunctional, and one is being kind here, North Africa, to the new great game for oil, friction and finance are constant bedfellows.

Look closely at what India's considers the biggest threat to the nation state these days - Maoist violence. With an estimated one-third of the country controlled continuously or intermittently by Maoists and ever increasing instances of violence, including the heavily politicised train-jacking, there is reason for real concern.

But at the heart of the battle is a deep service delivery failure. Decades of poor delivery of resources and opportunities in India's large tribal swathes have turned them into a battlefield where argument for a different, inclusive model of development have reached bullet-point.

For evidence, listen to the latest statements of Kishenji, the ever-elusive but omnipresent Maoist chief, always shot with his back to the camera and a gun strategically slung on the shoulders (so that the gun faces the camera even if he does not) who has challenged the West Bengal government to finish development faster than the Maoists.

Among the Maoist brag: they would sink 100 tube-wells in the next month and also set up 15 temporary hospitals. All this barely 200 kilometers from Calcutta.

Rebels are doing what the government has not in 60 years.

In Peshawar, widely known as Pakistan's (Asia's?) Wild West, Pakistani diplomats have often told me why there is so much support for the Taliban. They bring security and a sense of the fair rule of law which the corrupt administration has always failed to deliver.

So while asset bubbles are created in one part of the world, another breeds violence devoid of basic guarantees of the nation state and the two are in constant path of collision.

There is a big common ground between conservative politics and neo-liberal economics - an almost fascist disdain for dissenting views. In India, this has meant that as the country squeezes 20 years of Western growth in two or three years, there is little space of questioning this development model.

In this arrogance of development, dissent is not merely derided, it is treachery.

The big lesson of the post-downturn debate is whether in the world of Maoist violence and terror attacks, in a world of the debris of once-great banks, can there be space for Dissent Economics?

In his prophetic essay 'The Future of Dissent' on the 'Futures' edition of India's leading thought journal Seminar in December 1997, historian Ashis Nandy wrote:

"It is the responsibility of the citizen-futurist... to defy and subvert the 'inevitable' in the future, only another name for a tomorrow which dare not be anything other than a linear projection of yesterday. Students of the future owe it to themselves to create a gap between those whose idea of the future is modelled on the Wall Street share market or on nineteenth century Europe and those ideas of the future that could be called contemporary versions or reincarnations of the prophetic."

As Wall Street alchemists now know, the future might often not be the linear projection of the histories of the past.

Through the idea of Dissent Economics, I want to argue that our collective future can be far better prophesied if space is made for dissent. Dissent Economics, formalised as part of mainstream debate, will ease radical pressures on the system and would aid cooperative negotiation that are more effective in bringing change.

How can Dissent Economic Theory be statistically integrated to mainstream analysis?

The beginning must be far away from the data charts, on the field, by allowing and indeed enabling processes bring together dissenting viewpoints into mainstream debate. Provisions such as these already exist in government programs in education, health, employment guarantee schemes etc, but need to be implemented better.

Dissent Economics seeks to understand and extract from what initially might seem to be fringe criticism of popular notions but through micro-analysis is able to extract clues and forecast scenarios that takes a more holistic picture of the future, not so much as a linear projection of the past, but the sum of total of collective experience and opinions where even a breakaway radical critique centre might be explosive enough to derail the 'inevitable'.

Dissent Economics at its core of course is about democracy.

Hindol Sengupta is Associate Editor, Bloomberg UTV

Friday, 6 November 2009

Show Me the Money – The trials and tribulations of finding budgetary data in India

Avani Kapur

Every year on budget day, millions across the country tune into their television or radio-sets to hear the verdict of the budget. We want to know how much money has been allocated for various schemes and how the government has been fairing on its promises during the previous years. Yet, apart from that one day where basic budgetary data is clearly spelt out for us in a language everyone can understand, for the most part, anyone who has tried getting budgetary data on the social sector knows the arduous task it entails. A quick look at the Ministry of Health Website gives a clear indication of this!

As part of my work at the Accountability Initiative, I have been involved in trying to collect and disseminate information on social sector expenditures (see here). The importance of understanding social sector budgetary data becomes relevant by the quantum of money that it involves. The fact that the Indian economy has been growing at an incredible rate is a well-known fact. And this has been accompanied with large increases in social sector spending. According to the Economic Survey of India, Rs. 2,39,340 crores was spent in 2006-07 (the latest year for which actual expenditure figures are available) on Social Services including health and education. But how much of this actually reaches the service provider?

For the most part, tracking expenditure through budget documents requires an understanding of the expenditure responsibilities within and across Central and State governments. Budgets usually involve codes and although since 1987 budget codes have been harmonized, the process and documentation of budget-making has not kept pace with the changes over the last two decades.

Broadly there are 4 places to look for budgetary data, but each comes with its own set of limitations. One of the first places to look for budget documents is the Central Government’s dedicated budget website- However, while the detailed demand for grants provides the Revised Estimates (RE) and Budget Estimates (BE), the final accounted expenditure is not available. Second, there is the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which gives information about the amount of money allocated under different sectors and states, but here too, there is no detailed information on how, and on what, the money is being spent.

In order to get details about expenditure one needs to go to a separate document called the ‘Finance Accounts’, which is not easily available online. Moreover, there is a 2 year lag in reporting, i.e. for 2008-09 financial year, actual expenditure is available only up to 2006-07.

Similarly, while budget documents of the State governments and relevant government ministries do provide actual expenditure, they are not always publically available online and even when they are, they are not easy to navigate as there is no standardization in the presentation of budget documents across states or departments along with the time-lag problem already mentioned.

Apart from the difficulty in finding information, even if the information is available, there are problems of different reporting styles, lack of reliable and up-to-date information.

To take the example of education, while the RBI reports it under the budget head of ‘’Education, Sports, Art and Culture’’, the Central Government budget website puts education under the head of General, Elementary, Secondary and Adult Education. This makes it difficult to know which is the right source and the data naturally doesn’t match, making cross-verification difficult.

Moreover, for social sectors such as education, there may be multiple departments delivering the service. For example, in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, schools in tribal-dominated blocks come under the domain of the Tribal Welfare Department. This means that the total expenditure for education is generally higher than the expenditure incurred by the Department of Education.

The problem is further intensified in cases where fiscal responsibility is devolved to the lower levels of government. Significant portion of grants coming from the Centre go directly to the panchayats through the State budget. While the State budget documents mention the quantum of block grants to panchayats made by various departments, they often do not mention the purpose of the grants. Moreover, the lack of documentation by the Panchayats along the lines of a national system of accounts makes reconciling the grants coming from the Centre and the State, with panchayat records, virtually impossible.

The lack of regular and reliable data is evident from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Web Portal wherein, till date, expenditure under the various heads is only available up till January 2009. There is also no way of knowing when the website would be updated .

In the absence of a centralised information database tracking, the allocation and expenditure of funds (even for the government) becomes an extremely tedious exercise, having implications for planning as well as efficiency. The (often) big difference in revised estimates and budget estimates indicates that there are problems in the planning process, often caused by the inability to incorporate the spillovers of unspent funds. According to estimates, more than Rs.50,000 crores that were committed to flagship programs such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, National Rural Health Mission etc, in previous years, are lying unutilized.

A centralised information system would assist in mitigating this problem by catching mistakes and inefficiencies and also ensuring transparency.

With the advent of the Right to Information Act (RTI), we now have a legal duty to provide information including budgetary information. Section 4(2) of the RTI, calls for the proactive disclosure of information of public authorities and mandates, “it shall be the constant endeavour of every public authority….. to provide as much information suo moto to the public at regular intervals through various means of communication including the internet, so that the public have minimum resort to the use of this act to obtain information”. Websites such as the Andhra Pradesh Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (APREGS) website, with its well-organised and up-to-date information for various heads right up to the mandal level indicate that creating such a system is possible. Now it is time we step up to the challenge!

Avani Kapur is Researcher and Coordinator of PAISA project at Accountability Initiative

Monday, 2 November 2009

Thoughts on Types of Accountability

Nirvikar Singh

In the context of governance, accountability means that members and agents of government, i.e., politicians, employees and contractors are ultimately answerable to the citizens who provide the funds for their functioning, through taxes, fees and loans. Therefore, persistently poor public expenditure quality and inefficient delivery of public services, beyond what can be attributed to unavoidable constraints placed by financial and human resource limitations, must be traceable to weak accountability mechanisms operating for individuals (politicians and government employees) and for organizations (ministries and various public sector enterprises). Weak accountability also is central to the problem of corruption, which contributes to poor quality of public services.

Accountability is implemented through the provision of appropriate incentives for performance. For most of government, incentives and accountability are quite indirect, operating through organizational hierarchies. Only politicians are directly answerable to citizens through elections, and these are based on aggregate and incomplete assessments by citizens of politicians’ performance. Day-to-day accountability of politicians works through mechanisms such as the answerability of the executive to the legislature, the oversight of the judiciary, and general checks and balances within government. A federal structure adds the electoral dimension of accountability to subnational governments, but this can complicate the task of citizens in trying to assess performance.

To elucidate, one can categorize two fundamental types of accountability in governance: (1) that of elected officials to citizens and (2) that of other government employees to elected officials. The first can also be termed accountability through “voice”, political accountability or external accountability. Voice typically works through the electoral process, but one can also view direct appeals to the judiciary as a form of voice. In India, the broad use of public interest legislation can be seen as citizens’ using the judiciary to improve accountability of politicians, where electoral accountability is weak. An additional mechanism that provides external accountability is what Hirschman termed “exit.” Citizens may exit in two ways, either by shifting jurisdictions, or by going to the private sector for fulfilling wants that the government fails to provide adequately or effectively. In either case, the key enabler of exit is competition, between jurisdictions or between public and private provision.

The second type of accountability is more complex, since there can be vertical and horizontal chains of accountability within government as a whole, and within specific parts of government. Thus, this type of accountability includes “hierarchy” as a mechanism as well as checks and balances within government. One can also term this as “internal” accountability, broadening the standard usage of that term, which focuses on internal hierarchies, to include checks and balances.

Checks and balances are ignored in analysis that treats government as a dichotomous entity of elected and non-elected officials and neglects the broader dimensions of within-government accountability. For an example, consider the functioning of the Indian national parliament as an institution of accountability for the executive – its role in practice is weak, though it is supposed to have this function.

In considering forms of accountability, public interest legislation can also be interpreted as a hybrid of external (government-citizen) and internal accountability. One can possibly also distinguish “social” accountability, referring to the accountability of front-line service delivery units of government to clients. It seems that this is really a derivative of joint political and internal accountability. Yet another aspect of accountability is a division along quasi-functional lines: political, fiscal and administrative. Again, it seems that fiscal accountability, while very significant, is a joint product of political (external) and administrative (internal) accountability.

Nirvikar Singh is Professor of Economics at University of California, Santa Cruz.