Contribution of Participatory Budgeting to provision and management of basic services: Municipal practices and evidence from the field
Over 1,700 local governments in more than 40 countries are practicing participatory budgeting (PB), where citizens meet to agree on priorities for part of the local government budget for their neighbourhood or the city as a whole and oversee the project implementation. This paper reviews participatory budgeting in 20 cities from different regions and examines over 20,000 projects worth over US$2 billion that show how PB has contributed significantly to improving basic service delivery provision and management, and in bringing innovations in how these are delivered and to whom. Results indicate that PB projects are cheaper and better maintained because of community control and oversight. It examines how PB has supported democratic governance and has changed power relations between local governments and citizens whilst noting that in most cases PB is in effect about improving governance and delivery of services without fundamentally changing existing power relations. It also discusses challenges and solutions to PB’s effectiveness and scaling up.