PB Special Research Projects
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Research Question(s)References to Existing ResearchResearchers Actively Engaged with Question (with contact info)Comments
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1. Impacts on Democratizing Public Institutions
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To what extent does PB produce meaningful and durable change in the structure of democratic institutions?Wampler (2008) on Brazil; Public Agenda 2016: http://bit.ly/PBElected; Goldfrank (2011): Porto Alegre compared to Caracas and MontevideoMcNulty, new book coming out in April 2019, Democracy from Above?
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What are the conditions that lead to PB processes deepening in terms of their scale (growth in participation, size of budget, number of districts) and scope (type of budget, type of participation)? See Public Agenda 2014-15 and 2015-16 analyes of all North American PB projects, bit.ly/PB2014-15 and http://bit.ly/PB2015-16
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How does PB alter the relationship between elected officials and constituents?Wampler (2004) on three Brazilian cities; Public Agenda 2016 interviews with elected officials: http://bit.ly/PBElected
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What is the association between PB and the careers of elected officials?
Public Agenda 2016 interviews with elected officials: http://bit.ly/PBElected
How do media cover elected officials who adopt PB? Do candidates use PB in campaign platforms? How is using PB associated with winning or not winning an election?
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What are the impacts of PB on the work and relationships of city staff?Su (2018) on NYC
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What are the key challenges that city staff face in adapting to PB?
Public Agenda 2016 interviews with elected officials: http://bit.ly/PBElected
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How do different models of PB vary in terms of their impacts on ... ?Goldfrank (2017) on different models of PB in Latin America
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When and how do PB institutions survive a change in government from a supportive to an unsupportive regime?Follow Madrid
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2. Impacts on Civic and Political Engagement Practices of PB Participants and the Greater Population
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How does PB interact with / relate to / expand other forms of citizen participation in government?Montambeault, Françoise 2015
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What are PB's impacts on civic engagement and civil society behaviors? (e.g., voting, protest, civil society organization)There is evidence that PB participants are more likely to join civil society groups after participating and that civil society organizations increase in quanitity, expand their activities, and become more densely linked (Baiocchi 2005; McNulty 2011; Van Cott 2008; Gonçalves 2014; Touchton and Wampler 2014; Wampler, McNulty & Touchton 2018)
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What is the extent (e.g. in terms of hours) of volunteer involvement in PB implementation?See Public Agenda 2014-15 and 2015-16 analyes of all North American PB projects, bit.ly/PB2014-15 and http://bit.ly/PB2015-16e.g. Number and hours of volunteer involvement in PB implementation; percentage of PB implementation work done by volunteers. For a better understanding (as well as promotion) of PB, it would be advantageous to a) get a sense of the level of community engagement in the process, b) get a sense of the extent to which PB shifts government staffs’ and residents’ involvement in local democracy and c) consider what might be the most preferred balance of community-volunteer involvement vs paid city staff involvement in the process.
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To what extent does PB engage residents who have not previously (or recently) been active in other forms of civic engagement?Nylen (2003) on Belo Horizonte and Betim, MG; See Public Agenda 2014-15 and 2015-16 analyes of all North American PB projects, bit.ly/PB2014-15 and http://bit.ly/PB2015-16
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Does PB impact voter turnout in city or other elections?Carolina Johnson (csjohns@uw.edu), Jake Carlson (h.jacob.carlson@gmail.com), Sonya ReynoldsIs there a change in voter turnout before and after PB, on the individual or district level? Does people’s propensity to vote change due to PB? Is district-level voter turnout affected by PB? Is there another opportunity for democratic participation other than local elections that may be affected by PB? Would require:
- matching of PB participants to non-participants and tracking over time
- matching of PB districts/cities to non-PB districts/cities over time
- inclusion of relevant control variables
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How does turnout in PB processes compare with that of other forms of democratic participation?PB participation is typically compared to turnout in local elections. A special project could look at other, perhaps location-specific opportunities for public participation in local government that would make for relevant comparisons against which PB participation can be evaluated.
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How do PB programs affect tax collection?According to Wampler and Touchton (2019), Brazilian localities that adopted PB experienced a 33% increase in tax revenues
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3. Impacts on PB Participants' Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge
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What are PB's impacts on the attitudes of process participants?Baiocchi (2005) and Wampler (2007) have studied how much PB changed participants' support for democracy, their sense of empowerment, their perception of government efficacy, and their knowledge of government processes. See Public Agenda 2016 interviews with elected officials: http://bit.ly/PBElected
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What is the impact of PB on participants' knowledge of and/or attitudes towards (i) city government (ii) city infrastructure needs (iii) the city budget, and (iv) their neighbors and community?Lerner & Schugurensky (2007); This is a question of great interest to many stakeholders and would be important to investigate. While it is in principle a key metric, it goes beyond the capacity of individual evaluators to conduct a study that can address this question.

Existing work related to this project comes from voter surveys that include a question asking participants whether they have learned something new about local government through PB – participants tend to say yes to this question.
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What is the effect of participation on the skill set of budget delegate? To what extent do participants in PB transfer their skills to other areas?
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Under what conditions does PB maximize skill development, particularly among less experienced and/or disenfranchized residents?
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4. Other Impacts of PB
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What are PB's impacts on social indicators and communities' social well-being (e.g., health and education)There is evidence that in certain contexts, PB has been associated with declines in infant mortality (Touchton and Wampler 2014; Gonçalves 2014)
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5. Equity of PB Processes and PB's Impact on Societal Equity
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To what extent and/or under what conditions does PB succeed in allocating money to communities identified as most in need? Is spending through PB more pro-poor than the projets implemented through the status quo administrative process?Avritzer (2010); Hernández-Medina (2010) on São Paulo; Shybalkina & Bifulco (2018) on NYC
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How does the allocation of funds through PB compare with the allocation prior to PB?Iuliia Shybalkina (iuliia.shybalkina@gmail.com); Public Agenda: David Schleifer, Rebecca Silliman and Carolin HagelskampA spatial equity project that maps projects and uses geographers’ and planners’ tools to estimate characteristics of the population most likely to benefit from the project – compare that to spatial analysis of projects funded by same source prior to PB or in matched comparison districts/cities.
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To what extent and/or under what conditions does PB succeed in engaging less privileged or disenfranchized residents (a) as budget delegates (b) in the idea collection phase (c) as voters? See Public Agenda 2014-15 and 2015-16 analyes of all North American PB projects, bit.ly/PB2014-15 and http://bit.ly/PB2015-16; Pape & Lerner (2016); Su (2012); McNulty 2018; Su (2017)Stephanie McNulty, smcnulty@fandm.edu, Celina Su, celinasu@gmail.com
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What are the broader impacts of PB on the political power and quality of life of residents and communities identified as most disenfranchized?
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How do different PB processes compare in terms of how they define and pursue equity goals?In addition to analyzing participant demographics and aspects of the allocation of funds through the process, the equity of each process could also be studies as an aspect of implementation quality/institutional variety. For example, one could ask: Was equity an explicit goal of the process? (Also see: Implementation index for variables that can speak to equity in each process)
Possible variables to collect (Rule book analysis, implementer/evaluator surveys):
- Goals related to equity of allocations are specified in rule book or not
- Equity considerations are expressed in assemblies, delegate training, other meeting; and materials (vs. emphasis is on community improvements more generally)
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6. Adoption and Diffusion of PB
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Why PB is adopted?Factors identified: government’s ideology (Goldfrank 2011), civil society mobilization (Avritzer 2002; Baiocchi 2005), democracy promotion (Santos 2005), international organizations (Porto de Oliviera 2017; Goldfrank 2012), government’s electoral incentives (Wampler 2007), and nationally mandated programs (McNulty 2011, 2013); Public Agenda 2016 interviews with elected officials: http://bit.ly/PBElected
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How do PB processes diffuse?Factors identified: international donors, international advocacy organizations, and individuals who promote PB, called “participatory ambassadors” (Porto de Oliviera 2017); see also Sortone (2010), Wampler & Hartz-karp (2012);Public Agenda 2016 interviews with elected officials: http://bit.ly/PBElected
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What are the trajectories of PB growth in different regions?Dias (2018);
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How have models of PB processes changed as they have spread around the world?Baiocchi & Ganuza (2013) on "communicative dimension" and "empowerment dimension" of PB; Wampler & Touchton (2017);
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7. Variation in Quality of PB Processes
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What factors are associated with "successful" and "unsucessful" PB processes?Factors identified: the government’s ideology (Goldfrank 2011), civil society mobilization (Avritzer 2002; Baiocchi 2005), and the government’s electoral incentives (Wampler 2007). State capacity, the level of local resources, and institutional rules also explain variation in PB-generated outcomes. See also Lopes Alves & Allegretti (2012), McNulty 2011
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What causes variation in rates of participation in PB processes?In US and Canada, participation rates are positively correlated with size of PB budget per capita (Goldfrank & Landes 2018);See Public Agenda 2014-15 and 2015-16 analyes of all North American PB projects, bit.ly/PB2014-15 and http://bit.ly/PB2015-16;
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How is PB under conditions of austerity distinctive?Davidson (2018); Pin (2016);
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How do we explain the decline of once-successful cases of PB?Nuñez chapter on Porto Alegre in Dias (2018); Melgar (2014);
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How do municipal PB processes function within the city's larger planning and public works institutions?
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What features distinguish "good PB" from "bad PB"?
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9. Nature of PB Projects
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Do projects implemented through PB differ systematically from those implemented through the status quo administrative process?Peixoto et al. chapter in Dias (2018);Public Agenda: David Schleifer, Rebecca Silliman and Carolin Hagelskamp
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See equity section: To what extent and/or under what conditions does PB succeed in allocating money to communities identified as most in need? Is spending through PB more pro-poor?
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10. PB in Schools
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What models of PB processes work best in schools?Antonnet Johnson
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What are the impacts of PB in schools on student knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior? (e.g., knowledge of civics, student achievement, health behaviors)Cohen, Schugurensky & Wiek (2015); Crum & Faydash (2018);Daniel Schugurensky
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11. Variation in PB Models
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Models of aggregation in regional and national PBFalanga chapter on Portugal in Dias (2018); Shulga & Vagin chapter on Russia in Dias (2018); Sobottka & Streck (2014) on Rio Grande do Sul;
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Use of digital platforms vs. in-person meetingsPeixoto et al. chapter on Paris in Dias (2018); Mellon, Peixoto & Sjoberg (2017); Miori & Russo (2011);
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Processes that do not use budget delegatesFalanga chapter on Portugal in Dias (2018);
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Nationally mandated PB programsMcNulty (2012) and chapter on Peru in Dias (2018);
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12. PB and Climate Change
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How can PB or participatory policymaking be integrated into climate change mitigation and adaption investments?
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Does PB ameliorate drivers of climate-related migration?
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13. Other Participatory Democratic Institutions
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Catalogue of participatory democratic institutional designs and examples of their implementation
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