This study investigates whether citizen participation in public budgeting resulted in increased redistributive outcomes when compared with bureaucratic decision-making. We focused on a specific budget item (i.e., the installation of surveillance cameras for crime prevention) and examined whether participatory budgeting yielded larger budget allocations to low-income neighbourhoods. Results indicate that such participatory budgeting results in larger budget allocations for low-income neighbourhoods when compared with allocations produced by bureaucratic budgeting practices. The results also indicate that budgets allocated through citizen participation may be no more or even less effective for advancing public goals. These findings suggest a potential trade-off between equity and public service effectiveness. Citizen participation improves budget equity, but may be less effective for achieving public goals than bureaucratic decision-making. To explain this, we offer the ‘social pressure hypothesis’, which posits that social pressure during public-forum discussions can influence participating citizens to make redistributive decisions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration