Study Explores whether 'Participatory Budgeting' has Become a Patronage Mechanism in NYC

An experiment in direct democracy has potential to be subverted into a vote-getting vehicle
30-Apr-2020 11:25 AM EDT, by New York University

Newswise — Participatory Budgeting began in Brazil in 1988 and then, in 2011, New York City adopted the practice, giving citizens an opportunity to determine priorities for public spending in their communities.

A study of the impact of this ongoing experiment in direct democracy was conducted by Professor Thad Calabrese of NYU Wagner. The analysis, just published in Administration & Society, suggests that the process for determining the use of city legislators’ discrete pools of discretionary capital funds has the potential to be directed for political patronage instead.

Calabrese and co-authors Dan Williams of the City University of New York and Anubhav Gupta of the National University of Singapore (and NYU Wagner graduate) found that the capital funds allocated after the input of community members in New York City have been spread among a larger number of community-based organization in smaller amounts than was true before Participating Budgeting began.

At the same time, according to the article, there’s been no increase in the aggregate amount of funds allocated within each council district, nor changes, as a result of the consultative process, in allocation categories.

The article, just published in Administration & Society, considers the possibility that Participatory Budgeting may be falling short of its promise of increasing input from residents marginalized from official budget decision making, by increasing their roles in determining how public money is spent. It suggests that legislative determination for the use the funds, or earmarking, and the increased number of smaller projects across legislators’ districts, seem to suggest that Participating Budgeting can be coopted by city legislators to dispense political patronage.

“The analyses here are mostly suggestive of the patronage role in the New York City participatory budgeting process,” the researchers state. “That is, the results presented here are consistent with those predicted by patronage.”

However, the findings do not argue that patronage is definitely going on, nor does it rule out the benefit that other researchers have highlighted -- that Participatory Budgeting can aid in empowering citizens and increasing democracy.

“Next steps in this analysis might involve determining whether smaller but more numerous capital projects meaningfully improve public service delivery or citizens’ satisfaction with these services,” they write.

To speak with Calabrese or obtain a copy of the article, titled “Does Participatory Budgeting Alter Public Spending? Evidence From New York City,” contact the NYU press officer listed with this release. 

      

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                  

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 6021
Released: 22-Jun-2021 11:15 AM EDT
Memoir from Health Policy Expert Challenges American Health Care System and Inspires Change
Amplify Publishing

Amplify Publishing announces the release of Beyond Fear: How I Fought the Feds for Six Years—and Won by Ted Giovanis.

Newswise:Video Embedded newswise-expert-panels-on-covid-19-pandemic-notable-excerpts-quotes-and-videos-available
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jun-2021 2:10 PM EDT
Newswise Expert Panels on COVID-19 Pandemic: Notable excerpts, quotes and videos available
Newswise

Newswise is hosting a series of Expert Panels discussion on unique aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet includes some notable quotes from the panelists.

Released: 16-Jun-2021 1:10 PM EDT
Establishing Juneteenth As National Holiday is Opportunity to Create "New America"
Binghamton University, State University of New York

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill to establish Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday. This is an historic moment and an opportunity to create a “new America,” according to Anne Bailey, professor of history at Binghamton University, State University of New York and director of the Harriet Tubman Center for the Study of Freedom and Equity.

Newswise: Keeping the peace
Released: 14-Jun-2021 5:55 PM EDT
Keeping the peace
Washington University in St. Louis

New research from Washington University in St. Louis sheds light on how — and in what context — peacekeepers can contain the spread of violence in fragile post-conflict areas.

Released: 8-Jun-2021 12:45 PM EDT
2021 Gov Race is Currently Murphy’s to Lose
Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Governor Phil Murphy currently has a clear path to reelection victory, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.


Showing results

110 of 6021

close
3.58649