First Advisor

Phillip Cooper

Date of Publication

Spring 5-13-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy




Government accountability -- United States -- Case studies, Troubled Asset Relief Program (U.S.), United States. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Public administration -- United States -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 191 pages)


In the study of government accountability, there have long been arguments about which model is superior. These arguments, which are largely made by those in the performance and political accountability camps, state that their particular model is the best, and indeed only legitimate approach to ensuring accountable government. At the same time, there is growing research in policy tools but little in how accountability models and policy tools are linked in policy design.

This study makes use of the context provided by the critical cases of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). With such large sums of money in play at a time of serious economic downturn and mounting federal deficits, government clearly has a responsibility to ensure accountability so that the public can be assured not only that its funds are being spent properly but also more generally, that accountability as well as policy tool choice is in the minds of officials as they formulate, adopt and implement public policy.

The intent of this study is to present an argument in two main areas using the critical case studies of TARP and ARRA. First, that no one accountability model fully explains most policy tool choices in TARP or ARRA and that the use of multiple models is superior. Second, that we can link policy tool choices and accountability models in policy design. The standards used to establish what models explain what tool choices are in the models themselves. Each policy is explored individually in a chapter, and the lessons and results of this study are then presented in the final chapter.

The data presented in this study indicate that a single-model approach may explain a few, but not most and certainly not all, policy tool choices in TARP and ARRA. Indeed, a multiple model approach proves superior to a single-model approach in all but a few instances. As for the connections between policy tools and accountability models, the data presented in this study show that they were strongly impacted by the policy formulation process itself, specifically the way in which the policy problem was framed and the speed with which it was undertaken.


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