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Submitted by Shanta on

Robert: Thanks very much for launching this discussion, which would--as you say--be valuable in the WDR2004's 10th anniversary conference on February 28-March 1st. You are right that we didn't emphasize the "exit" option much in the 2004WDR, and its importance has become more apparent in the last decade. Two comments. First, efforts like community scorecards and local health and education forums are not examples of the "short route of accountability", which is when citizens directly hold service providers accountable. Your examples are all part of different legs of the long route of accountability--either "voice" or "compact". What citizen report cards, for example, do is help citizens express their voice to politicians who, in turn, may hold providers more accountable. In fact, the only pure short route is the market, where citizens hold providers accountable without the intermediation of the government. Second, your point that voice interventions may have limited impact is correct, although another reason (other than exit) is if the underlying politics in the country is dysfunctional. This is the point Stuti Khemani, Mike Walton and I make in our recent paper in the World Bank Research Observer ( It may be good to explore the relationship between these two (Hirschmanian) explanations at the conference. Regards, Shanta