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By J. Steets

Governments and overseas companies more and more use public-private partnerships to carry crucial public items. This book presents a brand new version of responsibility which guarantees that those partnerships do not erode public responsibility. It defines concrete responsibility criteria for various varieties of partnerships.

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50 Multinational corporations, for example, despite their power have to abide by the rules of the countries they operate in. Integrated international markets and financial systems do, however, allow them to choose which national regulatory and enforcement system they want to be subject to. This can put corporations in a strong position when they lobby for changes in national rule systems. Formal principals: The next level of accountability is that defined by contracts or other means of formal delegation.

11) Alnoor Ebrahim makes a similar claim for non-profit organisations (NPOs). He contends that for NPOs and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in activities of complex social development and poverty alleviation, too much accountability can hinder them in achieving their missions. (Ebrahim, 2005, p. 56) This last quote already indicates that authors searching for an answer to the question of whether accountability enhances or hinders performance that is valid across the board may be misguided.

5 When is the agent interested in strengthening accountability? We have now seen how accountability can be created or strengthened at each of the four steps involved in the basic accountability mechanism. Measures to improve accountability can be taken by both sides, the principal(s) and the agent. While it seems obvious why principals want to create strong The Concepts of Partnerships and Accountability 31 accountability (namely to align the agent’s behaviour as much as possible with their own interests and goals), it might not be so clear why an agent might be interested in strengthening his own accountability.

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