Does Participatory Budgeting Improve Decentralized Public Service Delivery?
This paper provides the first experimental evaluation of the participatory
budgeting model showing that it increased public participation in the process of
public decision making, increased local tax revenues collection, channeled larger
fractions of public budgets to services stated as top priorities by citizens, and
increased satisfaction levels with public services. 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.