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Participatory Budgeting and local political practices: a comparative study of three experiments

Open Panel

Abstract

The current study presents the argument that the implementation of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in the framework of local politics contributes to change in local political practices, verified through the introduction of this new participatory arangement in the relationship between executive and legislative branches. From this perspective, PB was analyzed in the course of this study in terms of institutional dynamics as opposed to through the lens of civic participation. Thus, the objective is to understand how the state’s incentives can fortify a civic culture and not the opposite. To examine this argument, we compared the institutional design of three experiences with PB in three Brazilian cities, Matão, São Carlos, and Rio Claro. These cases are similar in many aspects, but are distinguishable with respect to the differing results that each institution itself produces, which can be synthesized through continuity, discontinuity, or an alternation of the two. We concluded that PB contributed to changes in local political practices, verified especially through the appearance of these new institutionalized practices in observed politics through new relations between the PT and legislative and executive powers as we verified in new patterns of local politics, observed especially in the cases of São Carlos and Rio Claro.