Participatory Budgeting

Communities across the country are experimenting with participatory budgeting (PB), a democratic process in which residents decide together how to spend part of a public budget. Learning more about how these community efforts are implemented and with what results will help improve and expand successful forms of participatory budgeting across the U.S. and Canada.

Public Agenda is supporting local evaluation efforts and sharing research on participatory budgeting. Specifically, we are:

  • Building a community of practice among PB evaluators and researchers.
  • Working with evaluators and researchers to make data and research findings comparable across communities that use participatory budgeting.
  • Developing key metrics and research tools to help evaluate participatory budgeting (download these documents here).
  • Publishing a “Year in Participatory Budgeting Research” review based on data, findings, experiences and challenges from sites in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Conducting original, independent research on elected officials views of and experiences with participatory budgeting.
  • Convening the North American Participatory Budgeting Research Board.

Our goals are to use evaluation and research to inform and elevate ongoing national and local conversations about PB and its future in the U.S. and Canada, to help communities learn and improve PB implementation over time, and to further our understanding of PB’s potential long-term impacts on civic engagement, community health and government decision making. We hope our efforts help strengthen and expand promising public engagement practices and inform the field of participatory democracy field more broadly.

Below, you will find evaluation tools and resources we developed in close collaboration with PB evaluators and researchers in the U.S. and Canada. We also included the local evaluation reports from communities around the U.S. and Canada using PB in budget decisions.

To be the first to hear about new PB resources and news, join our email list. We also invite you to email us to join our listserv and participate in discussion about evaluation and research of participatory budgeting in the U.S. and Canada.

New to PB and looking to introduce it to your community? You should check out The Particpatory Budgeting Project (PBP). Once your PB effort is under way, come back to this page for tools to evaluate how you’re doing.