Participatory Budgeting is a democratic innovation that allows citizens to influence and decide on how public budgets, usually those of municipal governments, should be spent, through citizen participation. These processes often rely on periodic open assemblies, and stages of direct negotiation with the government, as well as councils of representatives of the civil society and governments to organize and monitor the process, and verify compliance with the citizen demands. Participatory Budgeting was inaugurated during the administration of the Labor Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) in the city of Porto Alegre in 1989. From then on, it was adopted by a large number of municipalities. In 2016, the Brazilian Network for Participatory Budgeting estimated that more than 350 municipalities have adopted Participatory Budgeting. It is the most famous and most studied democratic innovation in Brazil, and has been subsequently incorporated by several other countries. Studies have shown the impact of its adoption at the local level, demonstrating that municipalities that adopted Participatory Budgeting consequently invested more in health and sanitation and achieved better social results, in the reduction of child mortality rates, for example. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the innovation stimulates the civil society to organize itself at the local level.
Formalization: is the innovation embedded in the constitution or legislation, in an administrative act, or not formalized at all?
Frequency: how often does the innovation take place: only once, sporadically, or is it permanent or regular?
Mode of Selection of Participants: is the innovation open to all participants, access is restricted to some kind of condition, or both methods apply?
Type of participants: those who participate are individual citizens, civil society organizations, private stakeholders or a combination of those?
Decisiveness: does the innovation takes binding, non-binding or no decision at all?
Co-governance: is there involvement of the government in the process or not?
- embedded in the constitution/legislation
- Mode of selection of participants
- Type of participants
- citizens civil society
- democratic innovation yields a binding decision