PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING: competing political, good governance and technocratic logics

Центр «Res Publica»
Yves Cabannes

Yves Cabannes: University College London, Development Planning Unit, Emeritus.

Participatory budgeting (PB) has been a major innovation in participatory governance worldwide, with more than 3,000 experiences listed across 40 countries. PB has also diversified over its 30 years, with many contemporary experiments (referred to as PBs) only tangentially related to the original project to “radically democratize democracy”.

After presenting analytical tools to differentiate PBs, we propose a taxonomy to distinguish the logics currently underpinning PB in practice: political (for radical democratic change), good governance (to improve links between the public and citizens’ spheres within a neo-liberal logic), and technocratic (to optimize the use and transparency of public resources for citizens’ benefit).

Illustrating these competing rationales through contemporary experiences from different cities in the world, we reflect on the contributions and limits of the good governance and technocratic frameworks to managerial and state modernization. Undoubtedly, these help explain the expansion of these types of PBs and their growing attraction for proponents of the good governance agenda.


Image: By Daniel Latorre -, CC BY 2.0,