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Problems of Democratic Accountability in Network and Multilevel Governance

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Most studies converge on the growth of processes of ‘multilevel governance’ (MLG) in policy making, related to the often combined trends towards supranationalism and regionalism. Such processes are usually analysed under the angle of their efficiency, while their impact on the quality of democracy is neglected. This article first defines the concepts of multilevel governance and accountability, and then identifies the various dimensions of the latter. It further argues that MLG generates novel forms of accountability, but undermines its democratic dimension mainly for the following reasons: the weak visibility of MLG networks, their selective composition and the prevalence of peer over public forms of accountability.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of Public Policy, Institut d'Etudes Politiques et Internationales, University of Lausanne.

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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