The information phase of accountability: The role of management boards in European Union agencies

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The creation of European Union agencies has prompted normative and theoretical discussions about their accountability and democratic legitimacy. This study examines the extent to which different features concerning the institutional design of agencies incentivize information provision on their performance. To do so, it measures four aspects for which their governing bodies are expected to provide information: governance decisions, policy performance, financial issues, and interactions with stakeholders. Using a new data set of informative statements included in 199 annual activity reports of 29 agencies during the period 2010–2016, this study demonstrates that formal accountability positively affects information provision on governance and policy issues, and that the establishment of scientific bodies within agencies improves information provision on governance aspects, policy performance and their interactions with stakeholders. Finally, this article finds that agencies that perform more direct regulation are subject to greater transparency demands about their governance decisions and stakeholder interactions. Points for practitioners: The study provides practitioners with an analytical tool for assessing the provision of information about the decisions and actions of management boards on governance issues, policy performance, financial aspects and their interactions with stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)882-898
Number of pages17
JournalInternational review of administrative sciences (Print)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Accountability
  • European Union agencies
  • management boards
  • transparency


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