From Public to Private Accountability in Norwegian Local Government
This article discusses the consequences of changing views on accountability in democratic decision-making. Trends in Norway indicate that Norwegians are evaluating local democracy increasingly in terms of service performance and output, rather than in terms of political input from citizens. While traditional process evaluation is associated with governmental hierarchies and how voters can make elected representatives accountable for their policies, performance evaluation has connections with the logic of the market. It represents a shift from collective political control to individual consumer satisfaction, and consequently, from public to private accountability. Some highly prized democratic values, such as vertical political accountability, informed discussions of the totality of interests, and traditional democratic will-formation, could be lost on the way.