"Conceptual Promiscuity and Credible Research on Accountable Governance." Outline of remarks prepared for staff presentation at School of Governance, University of Utrecht Tuesday, 20 April 2004

Summary: The study of accountability is both frustrating and fascinating for those who take the concept seriously. The frustrations come from the “promiscuous” use of accountability by those who use it in their search for justice, democracy, ethics and enhanced performance. In the process, we have lost sight of central role that accountability plays in modern governance. To reestablish a credible research agenda focused on accountability, we need to revisit its historical roots, acknowledge its role in contemporary governance, and redesign our research to deal with issues of accountability as empirical (rather than design) questions.