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Participatory Budgeting and Democratic Innovation: Some Analytical Variables

Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT,volume 25)

Abstract

Having originated in Brazil, participatory budgeting (PB), notably the model created in Porto Alegre in 1989, has served as a reference for democratic innovation in Brazil and abroad, instigating diverse evaluations of its potential and limitations for promoting social, cultural and political-institutional change. This chapter maps the debates on the theme to identify the definitions of PB used in the literature and the analytical references that have been used not only to understand the rise, maintenance and success of PB programs, but also to assess their benefits to democracy, identifying variables and mechanisms which have a greater or lesser capacity to bring about democratic progress, such as the dimension of associativism, or of civil society, and the political will and or commitment of governments, as well as their institutional designs. Aiming at making a contribution to the field of studies on processes of democratic strengthening, the central issue consists in, based on studies on PB programs, discussing to what extent the process of diffusion and pluralization of participatory budgeting has not only affected its definition, but also challenged approaches centered on those variables and mechanisms.

Keywords

  • Participatory budgeting
  • Democracy
  • Civil society
  • Institutional design

This work is linked to the research project “New Forms of Political Participation: Protests and Institutional Participation in Brazil and Portugal in Comparative Perspective.” PROGRAMA CAPES/FCT, EDITAL No 39/2014. A version of this chapter was published in Política e Sociedade, Vol. 13, n. 28, 2014.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Coalition composed of the Worker’s Party (PT) and the former Brazilian Communist Party (now PPS).

  2. 2.

    Avritzer (2006) reinforced deliberative elements in PB.

  3. 3.

    The behavior of the executive branches in the implementation and maintenance of participation is related not only to its centrality in the set of government actions, but also to the amount of resources—human and material—destined to the process. Thus, the place occupied by participatory institutions in the administrative structure; the amount of resources allocated to the viability of participatory processes; the commitment to and respect for the participatory deliberations; the involvement of key representatives of the administration; the promotion of measures for training participants; and the guarantee of institutional infrastructure are some of the indicators of this variable (Lüchmann 2002; Borba and Lüchmann 2007).

  4. 4.

    Several studies do not make reference to civil society due to the contexts and models of PB. See, for example, the cases of Germany (Ruesch and Wagner 2013) and China (He 2011).

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Correspondence to Lígia Helena Hahn Lüchmann .

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Lüchmann, L.H.H. (2017). Participatory Budgeting and Democratic Innovation: Some Analytical Variables. In: Paulin, A., Anthopoulos, L., Reddick, C. (eds) Beyond Bureaucracy. Public Administration and Information Technology, vol 25. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-54142-6_5

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