1st Edition

Participatory Budgeting in the United States A Guide for Local Governments

    224 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Although citizen engagement is a core public service value, few public administrators receive training on how to share leadership with people outside the government. Participatory Budgeting in the United States serves as a primer for those looking to understand a classic example of participatory governance, engaging local citizens in examining budgetary constraints and priorities before making recommendations to local government. Utilizing case studies and an original set of interviews with community members, elected officials, and city employees, this book provides a rare window onto the participatory budgeting process through the words and experiences of the very individuals involved.  The central themes that emerge from these fascinating and detailed cases focus on three core areas: creating the participatory budgeting infrastructure; increasing citizen participation in participatory budgeting; and assessing and increasing the impact of participatory budgeting. This book provides students, local government elected officials, practitioners, and citizens with a comprehensive understanding of participatory budgeting and straightforward guidelines to enhance the process of civic engagement and democratic values in local communities.

    1. Introduction

    2. Participatory Budgeting in Context

    3. The Physical and Digital Space of Participatory Budgeting

    4. Research Approach

    5. Case One: 49th Ward in Chicago, Illinois

    6. Case Two: 6th Ward in St. Louis, Missouri

    7. Case Three: Youth Initiative in Boston, Massachusetts

    8. Case Four: Greensboro, North Carolina

    9. Case Five: City of Clarkston, Georgia

    10. Other Perspectives on the Participatory Budgeting Process

    11. Lessons Learned: Best Practices for Communities


    Victoria Gordon is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of the Master of Public Administration program at Western Kentucky University, USA.

    Jeffery L. Osgood, Jr. is Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Vice Provost, and Dean of Graduate Studies at West Chester University, USA.

    Daniel Boden is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Western Kentucky University, USA, and has professional experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

    "Participatory budgeting offers citizens are greater voice in the allocation of resources, but public managers are often skeptic of public involvement in financial decision-making. Participatory Budgeting in the United States helps abate these concerns by offering scholars and practitioners of public administration an explanation of how the method is working in a handful of local governments throughout the nation."William Hatcher, Augusta University, USA

    "This book is a welcome addition to the field of public administration due to the practical approach the authors take in examining citizen participation in the budgeting process, which graduate students will find insightful. The work also emphasizes the importance of public budgeting theories and practices in an evolving system of governance, where citizen input and representation are more than merely democratic principles, but essential elements of good governance." –Beth M. Rauhaus, University of North Georgia, USA

    "Participatory budgeting sounds good in theory, but how does it work in practice? Through interviews with community leaders in five U.S. localities that have implemented participatory budgeting, this book provides an insider’s view on the opportunities and challenges that arise. This book will be a valuable resource for communities that are using or considering participatory budgeting, as well as for students, scholars, and others who are interested in democratic values and citizen engagement."Beverly Bunch, University of Illinois Springfield, USA

    "Participatory Budgeting in the United States is a needed addition to the field with good value for students, academics, and practitioners. The text offers a thorough understanding of participatory budgeting, five interesting American case studies, comparisons with international efforts, assessment of efforts of citizen participation in budgeting, lessons learned, and a how to guide. It is a good complementary text for budgeting courses, a valued text for discussion of public engagement in more general public administration and policy courses, and a good resource for practitioners and researchers in the field."Larkin Dudley, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Emeritus, USA