Department of Government

The Many Faces of Accountability: Comparing Reforms in Welfare, Hospitals and Migration

New article in Scandinavian Political Studies by Haldor Byrkjeflot, Tom Christensen, and Per Lægreid.

Main content

Welfare reforms involve trade-off between different accountability types, such as political, administrative, legal and social accountability. This variety of accountability types is used to investigate consequences of reforms in three different welfare services in Norway; social services, hospitals and immigration. The study finds that more complex, dynamic and layered accountability forms are emerging, but that there are some differences across reform areas. The reforms in immigration seem to change accountability relations the most in hospitals, administrative and political accountability is up against professional accountability, and we see that politicians lack overall capacity and have to rely on administrative accountability in social services. In order to analyze how reforms affect accountability relations one has to study both the formal and informal changes, as well as the relationship between politics and professionalism.

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