Yves Cabannes and Barbara Lipietz


Department of International Development London School of Economics and Political Science, Uk



This working paper briefly introduces the world-wide expansion of PB and the heterogeneity of current experiences (section 1) before proposing two analytical frameworks to help differentiate between them.
The first is an analytical grid that enables the ‘grading’ of PB experiments according to certain key processes. This is both useful for comparative purposes and as and advocacy tool to orient or re-orient PB practices in a given city or locality (section 2). The second analytical tool proposes a synthesis of the grid’s findings by bringing out, in a succinct fashion, the highly divergent logics underpinning PB experiments in practice. These logics can be described as political (for radical democratic change), managerial and technocratic (to improve municipal finance transparency and optimize the use of public resources for citizens’ benefit) or good governance driven (to improve links between the public and citizens spheres). In section three, we explore four prominent experiences from diverse political systems to illustrate these logics: Seville, Spain and Chengdu, China (political); Solingen, Germany(managerial and technocratic); and Dondo, Mozambique (good governance). Finally, we close the chapter with an assessment of PB’s major contributions to democratic governance, as well as its ongoing challenges and limitations to date (section 4).

Key words
Participatory budgeting, governance, democratization, spatial justice, local governments