PB adoption across ideological divides: Lessons from Brazil

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Participatory budgeting (PB), a democratic innovation incorporating citizens in the local budgetary decision-making process, has grown from a handful of left-wing municipalities in Brazil to around the globe. While the role of the Workers’ Party in driving PB diffusion in Brazil is well-recognized, less attention is given to how PB traverses across ideological divide and finds audience in some of Brazil’s center-right and conservative parties. This paper proposes a meso-level theory by incorporating party organization in the study of PB diffusion. I argue that parties with a weak brand, low level of internal cohesion, and a decentralized and disconnected structure provide a favorable scope condition for learning about dissimilar policies–an essential step for policy adoption. Combining quantitative analyses of PB in Brazil from 1997 to 2016 and a qualitative study of three major center-right and conservative parties, this paper illustrates the dynamic that explains PB adoption under seemingly unpromising environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLocal Development and Society
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies

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