Constraining Governments: New Indices of Vertical, Horizontal, and Diagonal Accountability

Abstract: Accountability—constraints on a government’s use of political power—is one of the cornerstones of good governance. However, conceptual stretching and a lack of reliable measures have limited cross-national research on this concept. To address this research gap, we use V-Dem data and innovative Bayesian methods to develop new indices of accountability and its subtypes: the extent to which governments are accountable to citizens (vertical accountability), other state institutions (horizontal accountability), and the media and civil society (diagonal accountability). In this article, we describe the conceptual and empirical framework underlying these indices and demonstrate their content, convergent, and construct validity. The resulting indices have unprecedented coverage (1900–present) and offer researchers and policymakers new opportunities to investigate the causes and consequences of accountability and its disaggregated subtypes. Furthermore, the methodology provides a framework for theoretically driven index construction to scholars working with cross-national panel data.

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License CC BY-NC-SA
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 150 - Intro
Pedagogical Note Not Yet