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

1120 of 6051
Released: 15-Jul-2021 1:10 PM EDT
Even on Facebook, COVID-19 Polarized Members of U.S. Congress
Ohio State University

Facebook posts by members of the U.S. Congress reveal the depth of the partisan divide over the COVID-19 pandemic, new research shows.

Released: 13-Jul-2021 5:05 PM EDT
Patients in Michigan Gain Increased Access to Affordable, Quality Anesthesia Care
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)

Michigan patients now have increased access to safe, affordable care with the signing of HB 4359 by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The law removes supervision requirements for nurse anesthetists and grants them the authority to collaboratively participate in a patient-centered healthcare team.

Released: 13-Jul-2021 4:30 PM EDT
US citizen migrant children in Mexico lacking adequate health insurance
University of Houston

While attending a conference at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City several years ago, Sharon Borja was struck by the story of a young man who, as a child, joined his parents repatriating to their native country of Mexico.

Newswise: California Makes Historic Investment in HSU’s Polytechnic Plans
Released: 13-Jul-2021 3:25 PM EDT
California Makes Historic Investment in HSU’s Polytechnic Plans
Humboldt State University

California Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Legislature have agreed on a new state budget with a historic $458 million investment in Humboldt State University’s effort to become Northern California’s first polytechnic institution.

Newswise: Allocating COVID-19 vaccines based on health and socioeconomic factors could reduce mortality
8-Jul-2021 11:30 AM EDT
Allocating COVID-19 vaccines based on health and socioeconomic factors could reduce mortality
PLOS

Study suggests spatial relationship between COVID-19 mortality and population-level health factors.

Released: 12-Jul-2021 11:35 AM EDT
Money talks: Wealthy ‘hijack’ agenda to gain policy influence
Cornell University

Cornell University professor of government published "Hijacking the Agenda: Economic Power and Political Influence" on June 30. The book explores lawmakers' attention to corporate and wealthy interests, even as income inequality widened to historic levels.

Newswise: UCLA Research Finds U.S. Lags 79 Other Nations in Preventing Immigration Detention of Children
Released: 9-Jul-2021 3:35 PM EDT
UCLA Research Finds U.S. Lags 79 Other Nations in Preventing Immigration Detention of Children
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Unlike nearly three-quarters of high-income countries, however, the U.S. has no laws specifically limiting the detention of accompanied migrant and asylum-seeking children, according to a new study by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD).


Showing results

1120 of 6051

close
2.62301