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Democracy, Governance and Human Rights Programme Paper 17: Economic Policy Making and Parliamentary Accountability in the Czech Republic

18 Nov 2005



Responsibility and accountability are major issues in every democracy, and are especially important in countries building democratic systems and market economies. Accountability is closely linked with the issues of delegation of power, the existence of traditional democratic checks and balances, and sanctions. The treatment of accountability in a legal system requires a framework for the system’s functioning, but the reality may differ from the ideal. Legislation is generally created gradually; practice often precedes the formation of rules or reveals the weaknesses of existing laws. These problems can be ameliorated by simply gaining experience over time, by the professionalization of elites and, sometimes, by external political and economic influences.

In this paper, Zdenka Mansfeldová emphasizes the legislative power of parliament and the ways the government attempts to coordinate the decision-making process in the field of economic policy. The paper highlights six areas:
  • the economic transformation in the Czech Republic and the evolution of economic policy making;
  • policy-making styles during economic transformation, the creation of independent authorities - in particular the independent Czech National Bank (CNB) - and their relationship with legislative authority, and the role of international financial institutions and their influence on economic and political transformation;
  • the nature of the political system and the relationship between the legislative and executive branches;
  • parliamentary participation in economic policy making during the phase of decision making or, ex post, during the phase of control;
  • the process of bargaining on the state budget; and
  • participatory aspects of technocratic governance, the role of interest groups and the emergence and development of a social dialogue.

Mansfeldová also examines new challenges related to accession to the European Union.

Zdenka Mansfeldová is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Order DGHR PP 17 from UNRISD, 72 pages, 2005; US$ 12 for readers in industrialized countries and US$ 6 for readers in developing and transitional countries and for students.