Participatory Budgeting in Europe


Participatory Budgeting in Europe.Democracy and public governance

Yves Sintomer, Anja Röcke, Carsten Herzberg



252 pages

Hardback : 65 £



Can participatory budgeting help make public services really work for the public? Incorporating a range of experiments in ten different countries, this book provides the first comprehensive analysis of participatory budgeting in Europe and the effect it has had on democracy, the modernization of local government, social justice, gender mainstreaming and sustainable development. By focussing on the first decade of European participatory budgeting and analysing the results and the challenges affecting the agenda today it provides a critical appraisal of the participatory model. Detailed comparisons of European cases expose similarities and differences between political cultures and offer a strong empirical basis to discuss the theories of deliberative and participatory democracy and reveal contradictory tendencies between political systems, public administrations and democratic practices.


Graham Smith, University of Westminster, UK : "While there is agreement that democratic institutions need to be changed, the ways in which participation and representation could be combined vary. Covering the several ways in which participatory budgeting is implemented in different countries, this volume is extremely useful in understanding the many promises, but also the many challenges of democratic innovations.’ Donatella della Porta, European University Institute & Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy ’This revised version of a book originally published in French and other European languages is a much anticipated contribution to the literature on participatory budgeting. Written by three respected figures within the field, the book offers a nuanced and insightful analysis of the varied trajectories of participatory budgeting across Europe and the implications this has for realising social justice and democratising democracy."

Table of Contents

  Chapter 1. ‘It all began in Porto Alegre…’ Chapter 2. European convergence? Chapter 3. Six participatory models Chapter 4. Porto Alegre in Europe? (Spain and Italy) Chapter 5. ‘Proximity democracy is in the air’ (France) Chapter 6. Proximity: Springboard or trap? (Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands) Chapter 7. Participatory modernisation (Germany and Finland) Chapter 8. Between community development and public–private partnerships (United Kingdom, Poland) Chapter 9. Public services serving the public? Chapter 10. An instrument of social justice? Chapter 11. Democratizing democracy?