Feb 26, 2015

Research and Evaluation of Participatory Budgeting in the U.S. and Canada 


Communities across the country are experimenting 

with participatory budgeting, a way for residents to decide together how to spend part of a local budget. Learning more about how these individual community efforts are implemented and with what results could help improve and expand participatory budgeting across the U.S. and Canada. 


In the coming year, Public Agenda will help coordinate local evaluation efforts and share research on participatory budgeting.


We will:

  • Build a community of practice among evaluators and researchers of participatory budgeting processes.
  • Work with evaluators and researchers to make data and research findings comparable across participatory budgeting sites.
  • Publish a "Year in Participatory Budgeting Research" review based on data, findings, experiences and challenges from sites in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Conduct original, independent research on elected officials' views of and experiences with participatory budgeting.
  • Convene the North American Participatory Budgeting Research Board.

Through this process we hope to explore if and how participatory budgeting affects participation and public engagement in democratic processes. Moreover, if participatory budgeting does indeed have a positive impact on engagement, we hope our efforts contribute to strengthening and expanding the practice throughout the U.S. and Canada. It also will allow us to explore a research agenda in the participation democracy field more broadly.


Interested in joining a discussion about research into and evaluation of participatory budgeting in the U.S. and Canada? Sign up to join our listserv for the participatory budgeting community by sending an email here.


Policymakers and others interested in implementing participatory budgeting, if you would like to receive the "Year in Participatory Budgeting Research" report, sign up for our mailing list here. If you are interested in starting up participatory budgeting in your community, contact the Participatory Budgeting Project here.


This project is supported by a grant from the Democracy Fund. The Democracy Fund is a national private foundation that invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the public and able to meet the greatest challenges facing our nation. Learn more about the Democracy Fund here.


Engaging Ideas

A collection of recent stories and reports that sparked consideration on ways to make progress on divisive issues. 

Attention, Shoppers: Prices For 70 Health Care Procedures Now Online!

(Kaiser Health News)
On Wednesday, the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), launched a website called, which allows consumers to search for average prices for 70 services across more than 300 hundred cities and 41 states.  


CUNY Program Nearly Doubles Associates' Completion Rate


MDRC tracked students in the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at three CUNY community colleges and found that 40 percent earned a degree within three years, compared with 22 percent of the control group. Read the full report here


The Importance of Transforming Adult Learning

(Homeroom, U.S. Dept. of Education)

Ted Mitchell, the U.S. Under Secretary for Education and Johan E. Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education call for shared responsibility in making career pathways available and accessible for adults. Read the full report here


The Changing Nature of Middle-Class Jobs 

(The New York Times)

Using Census data, this visualization shows the middle-class occupations that saw the most growth from 1980 to 2012. The biggest gainers: registered nurses and mathematical and computer scientists.


Public Agenda is a nonprofit organization that helps diverse leaders and citizens navigate divisive, complex issues. Through nonpartisan research and engagement, it provides people with the insights and support they need to arrive at workable solutions on critical issues, regardless of their differences. Since 1975, Public Agenda has helped foster progress on K-12 and higher education reform, health care, federal and local budgets, energy and immigration. Find Public Agenda online at

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