Effective service provision entails the efficient and effective provision of public services, but also giving citizens and groups within society—regardless of gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity or class—the opportunity to participate in the relevant decision-making processes.

This Discussion Paper reviews the academic and policy literature on the role of sanctions, rewards and learning in generating democratic accountability in three service sectors: health, education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

It argues that successful democratic accountability in service delivery depends on the presence of functioning institutions, longer time horizons and the ability to tap into the power of collective action.


Publication date
05 August 2016
Aries A. Arugay
Number of pages


Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Mechanisms of democratic accountability in service delivery

3. Accountability challenges in public services: health, education and WASH

4. Evaluating mechanisms of accountability: success, inclusiveness and sustainability

5. Conclusions and recommendations


Annex: Case Studies

About the author

About International IDEA

More International IDEA Discussion Papers

Give us feedback

Do you have a question or feedback about this publication? Leave us your feedback, and we’ll get back to you

Send feedback

Sanctions, Rewards and Learning: Enforcing democratic accountability in the delivery of health, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene

Total views 3344
Downloads 1
Close tooltip