The public accountability of privatized activation - the case of Israel

Avishai Benish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The study explores the accountability implications of the increasingly privatized and marketized models of welfare governance. Privatization of public services radically destabilizes our concepts of accountability. While on the one hand, accountability deficits are created as traditional public accountability systems become less relevant; on the other hand, new market and results-based forms of accountability emerge. In order to examine how accountability is safeguarded under privatized activation, the study provides an in-depth look at private contractors' accountability in the case of activation in Israel. It finds that results-based accountability mechanisms were perceived as insufficient to legitimize contractors' discretion; and sometimes they even intensified accountability concerns. In practice, significant traditional public accountability requirements were extended to the private contractors, creating a hybrid public-private model of accountability. The article discusses the contradictory dynamics leading to the development of this hybrid accountability model and the tensions and instabilities it produces. It closes by stressing the need for more research into activation accountability regimes and their complexity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)262-277
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Accountability
  • Activation
  • Contracting-out
  • Public service values
  • Regulation
  • Social services


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