Participatory Budgeting

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Participatory Budgeting Research

Metrics and Evaluation Tools

Municipalities, educational institutions and other entities across the world use participatory budgeting (PB), a democratic process in which constituents decide together how to spend part of a public budget. Evaluation can help determine who is participating in PB, how PB funds are  being allocated, and opportunities for strengthening PB. 

In close collaboration with PB evaluators and researchers in the U.S. and Canada, Public Agenda developed a toolkit for evaluating PB that is designed to support common research goals across PB processes and inform discussions about how to improve PB. This work was conducted through a research partnership with the Kettering Foundation and was supported by grants from the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation.

The toolkit provides:

Metrics to help evaluators understand whether their PB process is meeting its goals related to topics such as the diversity of PB participants, the amounts of money allocated to PB processes, the implementation rate of winning projects and the costs of implementing PB.  Download the metrics here. 

Research instruments and customized excel sheets to facilitate data entry.  These include: 

Research timeline providing guidance for how evaluation can fit into a PB process. 

Learn more about Public Agenda’s research on participatory budgeting below or by emailing

Shifting Priorities: Participatory Budgeting in New York City is Associated with Increased Investments in Schools, Street and Traffic Improvements, and Public Housing

July 21, 2020

In participatory budgeting (PB), residents instead of public officials decide how public money is spent. PB may reveal that residents prioritize different investments than public officials, which could lead to more socially just spending. However, little research has examined whether and how PB shifts spending priorities. This study leverages publicly available records on New York … Read more