1 Institut for Statskundskab, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Institut for Statskundskab, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Democratic Gain but Learning Loss?
Like other countries Denmark has been hit by the global financial, economic and fiscal crisis. The pressure on the public finances has increased and public sector reforms such as new and/or changed accountability systems for budgetng, spending controls and financial management hav been launched in the form of a Budget Law and new requirements for financial management. This makes it interesting to assess how these initiatives introduced in times of austerity affect accountability in central government, and to discuss the potential effects of them. Based on a democratic, a constitutional and a learning perspective on public accountability, we assess the two initiatives through documentary material and interviews with civil servants who have designed or implemented the initiatives. The paper shows that the two initiatives strenthen and increase accountability from a democratic and a constitutional perspective, whereas they might create some dysfunctional effects when seen from a learning perspective. The results of the analysis raises the question as to whether the same accountability system can satisfy several demands, and whether it is possible to find a balance between democratic and constitutional control and organizational learning.