IILJ Emerging Scholars Paper 17 (2010)

Accountability in the Generation of Governance Indicators

Nikhil K. Dutta

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Governance indicators are finding broader use in investment and aid, making them subject to the same accountability concerns that have been raised with respect to other forms of global administration. This paper suggests two hypotheses for how accountability levels in the generation of governance indicators are set: a Demand Hypothesis, under which demands for accountability by indicator users and targets should be proportional to the stakes riding on indicators, and a Supply Hypothesis, wherein indicators compete for users by providing heightened transparency and reason-giving. While flaws in both Hypotheses are found, the Supply Hypothesis ultimately has more explanatory power – suggesting that more impactful global administration will not generally display greater accountability.