Department of Political Science


Video: Neil Mitchell Inaugural Lecture

3 May 2013

Delegation, accountability and democracy: The case of human rights violations

Recorded on 7th May, 2013 at Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL.


  • 00:00:00 - 00:04:21 Welcome by Professor Stephen Smith
  • 00:04:21 - 00:12:49 Introduction by Professor David Coen
  • 00:12:49 - 01:05:51 Lecture by Professor Neil Mitchell
  • 01:05:51 - 01:10:39 An appreciation by Professor Hank C. Jenkins-Smith

Lecture topic

Accountability and how democracies manage the blame for human rights violations will be the focus of this lecture. Of all systems we expect the most of democracies. But there has been little analysis of whether the assumptions of scholars and democratic leaders about the relationship between democracy and accountability are supported by performance in this policy area. The broad theoretical claim of the talk is that the analysis of delegation, developed by economists and public policy scholars with other topics on their minds, offers an elegant and policy-rich path of inquiry, and political science has something to offer in return.


Neil Mitchell joined the School of Public Policy at UCL in September 2011. He was previously professor of politics and Sixth Century Chair at the University of Aberdeen and before that taught at the University of New Mexico in the United States. His research interests include business and other non-state actors, conflict, and human rights. His latest book is Democracy’s Blameless Leaders (NYU Press, March 2012).

Related links