Best Practice of Participatory Budgeting in Germany – Chances and Limits

Academic Public Administration Studies

Best Practice of Participatory Budgeting in Germany – Chances and Limits

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Title: Best Practice of Participatory Budgeting in Germany – Chances and Limits
Author: Jochen, Franzke
Abstract: Participatory budgets (or citizen’s budgets) are a modern form of the involvement of inhabitants in the discussion of the municipal budget and/or allocation of municipal public finances in a direct, permanent and independent way. Participatory budgets are formal procedures for any city all over the world, independent from their size and number of population. The instrument is very flexible and adaptable to different politico-administrative systems and variable political orientations. It’s suitable to the current governance trend of local reforms and can be combined with other instruments of local democracy. The idea of including citizens in the local budgetary decision process was invented first in Brazil in the city of Porto Alegre in 1989 under the name Orçamento Participativo. Since then the idea spread over Brazil, other countries of Latin and North America, Asia, Africa and finally Europe. But according to different legal frameworks, varied socio-economical conditions and diverse political intentions of the supporters of participatory budgets the procedure in different countries is highly specific. Therefore, the main research question of this contribution is to find out, how participatory budgets can be adapted to the legal, political and administrative framework condition at local level in Germany. This includes the question of the possible additional benefit of the procedure for local democracy. However, it has been taken into account, that the data about the conditions and results of participatory budgets in Germany are frequently based only on information of the projects organizers. Scientific evaluations of individual projects are still rather rare (with the exception of Berlin-Lichtenberg and Cologne). At this stage of developments of participatory budgeting in Germany it may be useful, to map the state of the art, to describe the standards of the procedure in Germany and to affiliate some further research questions.
Date: 2010-09-10

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