Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Executive Authority and Democratic Accountability in a Cross-National Context

Patricia L. Sykes, Suzanne J. Piotrowski.

This research attempts to advance our knowledge of political developments in the Anglo-American world in two ways. First, we adopt an unusual methodological approach by placing the United States in a cross-national context. Both scholars of US politics and those who study comparative politics tend to treat the case of the US as exceptional and exclude it from comparative analysis. By comparing the US with other Anglo systems – especially Australia and the United Kingdom – we link political developments in these nations and explain why they experience similar challenges now and in the future. Second, we focus substantively on an area often neglected, despite its increasing significance: the concentration of power in the executive and efforts to limit leadership by ensuring democratic accountability. During the past two decades, presidents and prime ministers have acquired wide latitude and exercised independent discretion when initiating domestic reforms and committing troops abroad – a trend that seems likely to continue. At the same time, to increase transparency and secure greater accountability, Anglo nations have adopted new measures such as freedom of information acts. Our research explores the source and nature of increasing executive authority and assesses some of the measures taken to check it.


Patricia L. Sykes  (United States)

American University

Suzanne J. Piotrowski  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Public Administration
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Suzanne J. Piotrowski is an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Rutgers University-Newark. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from School of Public Affairs at American University, Washington, D.C. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on nonmission-based values in public administration, including representative bureaucracy and administrative transparency.

  • Comparative
  • Politics
  • Executive
  • Leadership
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Australia

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)