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

  • ANNA LÜHRMANN (a1), KYLE L. MARQUARDT (a2) and VALERIYA MECHKOVA (a1)

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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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons licence is included and the original work is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use.

Corresponding author

Anna Lührmann, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science; and Deputy Director of the Varieties of Democracy Institute, University of Gothenburg, anna.luehrmann@v-dem.net.
Kyle L. Marquardt, Assistant Professor, School of Politics and Governance; and Research Fellow, International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development, National Research University Higher School of Economics, kmarquardt@hse.ru.
Valeriya Mechkova, Doctoral Student, Department of Political Science and the Varieties of Democracy Institute, University of Gothenburg, valeriya.mechkova@v-dem.net.

Footnotes

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The authors contributed equally and are listed alphabetically. For their helpful comments, we thank Ryan Bakker, Ruth Carlitz, Michael Coppedge, Adam Harris, Kristen Kao, Staffan I. Lindberg, Daniel Pemstein, Juraj Medzihorsky, Simona Piattoni, Svend-Erik Skaaning, anonymous reviewers, and the editors of APSR. We also thank participants in the 2016 Development Research Conference at Stockholm University, the 2017 V-Dem May Conference, and 2017 European Consortium for Political Research General Conference. This research project was supported by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Grant M13-0559:1, PI: Staffan I. Lindberg); the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (Grant 2013.0166, PI: Staffan I. Lindberg); the European Research Council (Grant 724191, PI: Staffan I. Lindberg); and internal grants from the Vice-Chancellor’s office, the Dean of the College of Social Sciences, and the Department of Political Science at University of Gothenburg. We performed simulations and other computational tasks using resources provided by the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) at the National Supercomputer Center in Sweden, SNIC 2016/1-382. Marquardt acknowledges the support of the HSE University Basic Research Program and funding by the Russian Academic Excellence Project ‘5-100.’ Replication files are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/TI7ORN.

Footnotes

References

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

  • ANNA LÜHRMANN (a1), KYLE L. MARQUARDT (a2) and VALERIYA MECHKOVA (a1)

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