Participatory Budgeting: A Comprehensive View

Widely published scholar and former White House policy advisor Hollie Russon Gilman conducts the first comprehensive academic exploration of participatory budgeting in the United States in Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America.

Currently a postdoctoral scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, Georgetown University’s Beeck Center, and New America, Gilman has served as Open Government and Innovation Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Gilman’s Democracy Reinvented is a thorough academic examination of the challenges and opportunities afforded to contemporary democracy through the innovative civic practice of participatory budgeting.

Democracy Reinvented explores participatory budgeting in the context of larger conversations around democracy and its institutions in the United States, identifies the potential for inclusive governance and offers practical recommendations on leveraging digital and technological innovations towards achieving this end. Gilman uses field observations, interviews, survey research, etc., to generate a framework of assessment for such democratic experiments by way of impact, efficacy and inclusiveness.   

As civic innovationparticipatory budgetings like participatory budgeting gain momentum in communities around the world, Gilman’s research seizes the opportunity to enrich the theory and practice of participatory democracy. It projects an alternative to the discourse of the disaffected citizen and mistrusted government by illustrating democratic innovations in practice, and compelling a re-imagination of the possibilities for civic engagement.  Apart from a deep and wide assessment of contemporary participatory budgeting, Gilman also explores pilot programs in government data transparency, crowdfunding for public policy making, and peer-to-peer microlending in different cities.

As the first in-depth academic treatise on participatory budgeting, Democracy Reinvented is a rich offering of rigorously gleaned insights relevant to current and emerging understandings of citizenship and governance. It also addresses the dynamics that drive and shape digital civic engagement.

Twitter: @hrgilman

Photo: Costa Constantinides/Flickr/cc

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