Call for Papers at the 19th CIGAR Conference 2023 in Tokyo
The theme for the 2023 CIGAR conference is ‘Public Accountability and Democracy in Times of Crisis: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue’. Public accountability is a crucial instrument in democratic society and the dimension becomes significant in the current public sector management and accounting (Almquist et al., 2013). It is expected to increase trust in government through improving performance and transparency. Some scholars refer to this as a system of democratic governance (Mulgan, 2000). The concept has expanded from financial and legal accountability to managerial and policy accountability. Accountability originates from an accounting focusing on financial information but there is a two-way street between accountability and accounting innovation since accountability is often ‘attached’ to reforms. Indeed, public sector accounting reforms sometimes ‘free-ride on the evocative powers of accountability’ (Bovens, 2010). Notwithstanding the attachment to significant public sector reforms, accounting does not catch up the transforming governance regimes (Torfing et al., 2020): it is still unclear what types of accounting are responded to post new public management (Post-NPM) like new public governance (NPG) and public value management (PVM), as accrual accounting matched with NPM. Further, our democratic society is challenged by lower levels of trust in public institutions (Kettl, 2017), a disparity/divide among people (Stiglitz, 2012), populism (Mϋller, 2017), and wicked problems like climate change (Pollitt, 2015), pandemics (Kilbourne, 2006), human-made disasters (such as war and nuclear accidents) and aging demographics (Altman and Schactman, 2002). Especially we have been facing COVID-19 and Greenhouse Gas Emissions which are a greater global risk to people’s lives, uncertainty and urgency (Rosenthal et al., 1989; Grossi et al., 2020; Vollmer, 2021). The crucial issues in public policy are how to balance or harmonize between conflicting objectives: state control and public autonomy in regulations or human solidarity and individual autonomy, taking account of professional knowledge and political leadership in decisions, equity and effectiveness in vaccination, development and reducing gas emissions, saving the economy and lives in pandemics, short and longer goals, etc. Adopting IPSAS in public sector accounting might be a first step to managing huge debts and deficits prompted by stimulus packages for COVID-19 and other types of natural or human made disasters (IPSASB, 2020).
In order to respond to the challenges, however, public sector accounting has to expand functions in light of democratic dialogues, that is ‘dialogic accounting’ as a means of democratic interaction with citizens and other stakeholders (Brown, 2009) over financial and non-financial reporting. Beyond measurement of financial performance and conditions of public entities, government accounting has to work as a deliberating practice through communication between the stakeholders, which could cope with the conflicting issues and enhance public accountability. As Bastida et al. (2021) mentioned, ‘accounting can play an important role in post-COVID normal situation in government’. The new roles on coping with complexity are the key underpinning of the 2023 CIGAR Conference. Accordingly, it is hoped that the corpus of research gathered in CIGAR 2023 will advance frontiers regarding: measurement and coordination for conflicting and interactive outcomes; public governance mechanisms across hierarchy, market and network; public accountability in terms of ‘who does what and reports to whom’; the role of accounting in mediating relationships between output-oriented politicians in vertical accountability relationships with administrators; horizontal accountability between services providers and citizens framed as customers and suppliers in a quasi-market or co-creators in a network relationship; and, ways in which accounting and its rules/practices can affect power relations. From this perspective, scholars are encouraged to submit papers without limitation as to theory or method in addressing relevant topics. Interdisciplinary approaches and comparative studies, including those at the interface of accounting, economics, public policy and administration, management, and sociology are very welcome. Some topics of relevance are, for example:
Research that advances traditional topics and practices of public sector accounting research in the fields of accrual accounting, management accounting, management control, budgeting and auditing are also welcome. Extended abstracts (2 pages in A4) or full papers should be submitted to https://cigar2023tokyo.jp/ by 31 January 2023（This URL is 19th CIGAR conference website itself. Please wait for a while until we can inform you of the appropriate URL for submission.） Following Academic Committee double-blind review, authors will be notified by the end of February 2023. Full papers shall be submitted by the end of April 2023.