Participatory Budgeting Nurtures Democratic Values

Participatory budgeting purports to improve transparency and accountability. It is usually described as a tool for public administrators in the process of resource decision-making and allocation, Participatory Budgeting in the United States: A Guide for Local Governments is a primer that explores a classic and increasingly popular form of participatory governance, in which local citizens deliberate on budgetary priorities and limitations before supplying local government with feedback, comment, and recommendations.

The book is authored by Victoria Gordon, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, also Director of the Master of Public Administration program at Western Kentucky University, Jeffery L. Osgood, Jr. Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Vice Provost, and Dean of Graduate Studies at West Chester University, and Daniel Boden, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Western Kentucky University.

Reflecting on case studies in Chicago, St. Louis, Boston, Greensboro, and Clarkston, and original interviews with city employees, elected officials, and communities, Gordon et al illustrate participatory budgeting processes in action through firsthand accounts. The authors mine experiences for insights and lessons on the perceptions of community leaders, uses of social media, and tactics, strategies, and processes of participatory budgeting. Three major themes emerge from the research: the development of participatory budgeting infrastructure, mobilization of citizen participation in deliberations, and the evaluation and improvement of the impact of participatory budgeting.

While the book provides a broad overview of partnerships in action, it also develops a comprehensive account of participatory budgeting, presenting recommendations and guidelines to nurture civic engagement and democratic values.

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