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International policy diffusion and participatory budgeting


This book explores an obscure facet in studies about democracy and participation, namely the international diffusion of ideas and technologies on participatory governance. Recent researches on the topic highlight the influence of various actors to explain the diffusion phenomenon, drawing particular attention to international organizations. These institutions often recommend the use of specific models, as in the case of the Participatory Budgeting (PB), which currently accounts over 2800 experiences worldwide. Nonetheless, do recommendations from international institutions suffice to explain the transfer of ideas and technologies on participatory governance? Situated between public policy analysis and the study of international relations, this research seeks to examine the transfer of Participatory Budgeting through a qualitative methodology, combining in-depth interviews, participant observation and document analysis. This research was based on the analysis of the key case of Porto Alegre and several cases of transfer in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The research findings indicate there is a global flow, a regional diffusion, as in the Andes, and also isolated transfers, in which PB streams from one institution to another, as exemplified on the transfer from Porto Alegre, Brazil, to the municipality of Cotacachi, Ecuador, or to Maputo in Mozambique. It was found that the actions of a group of individuals were crucial to make PB part of the international agenda. These actors have also assisted to promote transfers abroad. Once Participatory Budgeting becomes legitimate abroad, international organizations play a bigger role since they finance these experiences, organize training workshops for staff and develop implementation manuals. The technique used to conduct this study was the process-tracing, which seeks to identify chains of causal mechanisms that affect a particular phenomenon. The empirical dimension of this research is composed of primary sources. For this study, over 120 in-depth interviews in nine countries (South Africa, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, United States, France, Mozambique, Peru, Senegal) were made. Furthermore, there were participant observations in international events and the collection of materials on-site, such as official documents, press articles and multimedia files. (AU)

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