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Anticipatory and reactive forms of blame avoidance: of foxes and lions

By Markus Hinterleitner and Fritz Sager


Blame avoidance behavior (BAB) encompasses all kinds of integrity-protecting activities by\ud officeholders in the face of potentially blame-attracting events. Although considered essential\ud for a realistic understanding of politics and policymaking, a general understanding of this\ud multi-faceted behavioral phenomenon and its implications has been lacking to date. We\ud argue that this is due to the lack of careful conceptualization of various forms of BAB.\ud Crucially, the difference between anticipatory and reactive forms of BAB is largely neglected\ud in the literature. This paper links anticipatory and reactive forms of BAB as two consecutive\ud decision situations. It exposes dependence relationships between the situations that trigger\ud BAB, the rationalities at work, the resources and strategies applied by blame-avoiding\ud actors, and the various consequences thereof. The paper concludes that anticipatory and\ud reactive BAB are distinct phenomena that require specific research approaches to assess their\ud relevance for the workings of polities

Topics: 350 Public administration & military science, 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology, 320 Political science
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1017/S1755773916000126
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