Algorithmic Decision-Making and Good Administration

The principle of good administration requires public authorities to carefully prepare their decisions, be transparent and accountable, offer access to information, and be able to explain their decisions.The growing use of algorithms as a supporting or decisive tool for administrative decision-making is nonetheless changing the relationship between citizens and the state.This is often explained by two elements: (i) algorithms are “black boxes”; (ii) the underlying technology is provided by private tech companies that protect the disclosure of algorithms with trade secrets, determine to a certain extent the content of public services, and are likely to influence how public values are protected.Drawing on existing case law from different jurisdictions, this paper explores the meaning of the principle of good administration in the algorithmic state. It inquires into the need for new principles of good administration that enhance the transparency and ethics of algorithmic decision making.