Magazine article Government Finance Review

Participatory Budgeting Produces Impressive Results, under the Right Circumstances

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Participatory Budgeting Produces Impressive Results, under the Right Circumstances

Article excerpt

Participatory budgeting increases public participation in the process of public decision making, increases local tax revenues collection, channels larger fractions of public budgets to services stated as top priorities by citizens, and increases satisfaction levels with public services, according to a study from the Inter-American Development Bank. These effects, however, were found only when the model was implemented in already-mature administratively and politically decentralized local governments. The findings highlight the importance of initial conditions with respect to the decentralization context for the success of participatory governance--in other words, how robust the city's institutional setting may be.

The desirable outcomes are at risk if too many other new civic initiatives compete with the introduction of the participatory budgeting process and if implementation of the process is not adequately supported by training and technical assistance for the city staff, according to the paper, which is billed as the first experimental evaluation of the participatory budgeting model. Combining reforms such as administrative, fiscal, and political decentralization together with participatory budgeting appears to diminish the potential the latter can have when implemented in already-mature decentralized local governments. Dedicating staff to the support of the process increases the likelihood of success.

According to the paper, the following pattern of citizen engagement around the budget process helps create measureable improvements in tax collection and satisfaction scores:

* The yearly cycle is initiated with a community meeting where citizens express their demands and priorities for public service delivery. These priorities are tracked through specially designed report cards. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.