Working Paper No 16: Social Accountability and its Conceptual Challenges: An Analytical Framework

Claudia Baez Camargo, Eelco Jacobs
Publication year: 
Basel Institute on Governance

Social accountability has become a favored approach among most major multilateral and bilateral donors to develop grass roots mechanisms for democratic governance. In a successful scenario, citizen participation can promote more responsive governments and better provision of basic services by linking users’ feedback to the policy design, implementation and monitoring activities typically undertaken by the state. However, there is a lack of agreement about which specific types of social accountability interventions yield the best results and what are the causal pathways that are critical to generate positive changes. This paper presents an analytical framework that identifies the key components that are required to exercise effective direct accountability and provides a blueprint to assess social accountability initiatives.