Costa Rica

District Councils

The District Councils are an authority established by the Municipal Code of 1970 to bring the work of the municipality to the community. In effect, this Code establishes that the District Councils will be the bodies in charge of monitoring the municipal activity and collaborating in the districts of the respective municipalities. Likewise, it indicates that there will be as many District Councils as there are districts in the corresponding canton. These councils are conceived as interlocutors between the community and the local government. The Councils will have five members who will be popularly elected for four years, simultaneously with the election of municipal mayors, and by the same procedure of election as the deputies and municipal councilors as established in the Electoral Code. They will hold their positions free of charge. It should be noted that as of 1998, a procedure was established for the District Councils to define the projects and works in which the specific parties would be invested in from the National Budget. This transformed the District Councils into the only Costa Rican institution that allows citizens to have control over the use of public resources. However, to 1999, these bodies operated in only 12.5% of the country's municipalities.

Institutional design


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
democratic innovation yields a non-binding decision  


  • Deliberation
  • Direct Voting
  • E-Participation
  • Citizen Representation


  • Accountability
  • Responsiveness
  • Rule of Law
  • Political Inclusion
  • Social Equality

Policy cycle

Agenda setting
Formulation and decision-making
Policy Evaluation


How to quote

Do you want to use the data from this website? Here’s how to cite:

Pogrebinschi, Thamy. (2017). LATINNO Dataset. Berlin: WZB.

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