Improved Governance? Exploring the Results of Peru's Participatory Budgeting Process
2013 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2013, Forthcoming
14 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 13, 2013
Can a nationally mandated participatory budget process change the nature of local governance? Passed in 2003 to mandate participatory budgeting in all districts and regions of Peru, Peru's National PB Law has garnered international attention from proponents of participatory governance. However, to date, the results of the process have not been widely documented. Presenting data that have been gathered through fieldwork, online databases, and primary documents, this paper explores the results of Peru’s PB after ten years of implementation. The paper finds that results are limited. While there are a significant number of actors engaged in the process, the PB is still dominated by elite actors that do not represent the diversity of the civil society sector in Peru. Participants approve important “pro-poor” projects, but they are not always executed. Finally, two important indicators of governance, sub-national conflict and trust in local institutions, have not improved over time. Until Peruvian politicians make a concerted effort to move beyond politics as usual, results will continue to be limited.
Keywords: participatory budget, Peru, governance
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