From Maastricht to Brexit by Richard Bellamy and Dario Castiglione

Exploring Reputational Battles between Regulators and Government: An Analysis of Irish Integrity Watchdogs

Public Administration
Slobodan Tomic
University College Dublin
Slobodan Tomic
University College Dublin

Reputational scholars posit that organisations will orient their accountability practices toward watching audiences, whereas the traditional principal-agent paradigm assumes that principal is the key forum for organisational exercise of accountability. It is argued here that the two views of accountability are not necessarily irreconcilable, i.e. that agents’ reputation-maximising practices can be shaped by their ongoing exchanges with the principal(s). To model how this game between principals and their agents shapes the agents’ reputational efforts to exercise accountability, the paper will analyse the interplay between Irish integrity regulators – the Ombudsman, the Information Commissioner, the Standards in Public Office Commission, and the Comptroller & Auditor General, on one hand, and the government, on the other. The aim is to empirically explore whether the prior series of exchanges between the government and the integrity regulators will affect the future regulators’ reputation-seeking actions that are taking place before the watching audiences. To establish patterns in this interplay between the government and the integrity regulators, the study will employ a time-series analysis based on a set of successive series of moves of the two sides.
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