Participatory Budgeting: An Innovative Approach

7 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2016

See all articles by Gianluca Sgueo

Gianluca Sgueo

European Parliamentary Research Service; Center for Social Studies - University of Coimbra; New York University

Date Written: January 7, 2016


Experts in the budgetary field see participatory budgeting as an innovative solution to promote inclusive democracy, and further modernisation and accountability in the public sector. Participatory budgeting is believed to allow civil society and public administrators to jointly determine spending priorities, through 'co-decision' measures. Cooperation is expected to reduce conflicts and to favour broader acceptance of budgetary decisions. The first experiments with citizens' participation in budgetary matters were conducted in Latin America in the late 1980s. It is estimated that there are now between 618 and 1 130 examples of participatory budgeting in Latin America, representing almost a third of the instances of participatory budgeting worldwide. In Europe, between 2005 and 2012, experiments with participatory budgeting increased from 55 to over 1 300, involving more than 8 million EU citizens.

Not only national authorities, but also supranational administrations, including the European Union (EU), incentivise the use of participatory budgeting among governments and sub-national authorities. Since 2002, the World Bank has provided over US$280 million in loans and grants in support of participatory budgeting-related projects in at least 15 countries. At EU level, participatory budgeting has been introduced through funding programmes such as URB-AL. Between 2003 and 2010, URB-AL managed €5 million and involved 450 local governments and civil society representatives in Latin America; its objectives include promoting participatory budgeting to strengthen budgetary transparency and accountability.

Keywords: European Union, EU, Europe, democracy, participation, budget, public management, economy, World Bank, civil society, lobby, interest, stakeholder

Suggested Citation

Sgueo, Gianluca, Participatory Budgeting: An Innovative Approach (January 7, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Gianluca Sgueo (Contact Author)

European Parliamentary Research Service ( email )

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Center for Social Studies - University of Coimbra ( email )

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New York University ( email )

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