Author Biography

Hollie Russon Gilman is a Lecturer and Post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a Fellow at New America and Georgetown's Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation. She is the author of Democracy Reinvented: Participatory Budgeting and Civic Innovation in America.

Professor Brian Wampler focuses his research and teaching on Brazil and Latin America. Wampler has lived and conducted research in Brazil, Mexico, and Spain. Wampler earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas, Austin, and his BA in Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lives in Boise, Idaho with his family.


Participatory Budgeting (PB) is conceptually powerful because it ties the normative values of non-elite participation and deliberation to specific policymaking processes. It is a democratic policymaking process that enables citizens to allocate public monies. PB has spread globally, coming to the United States in 2009. Our analysis shows that the types of institutional designs used in the United States are quite different from the original Brazilian programs. What explains the variation in PB institutional design between Brazil and the United States? Most PB cases in the US are district-level whereas in Brazil, PB cases are mainly municipal. We account for this variation by analyzing the electoral system; configuration of civil society; political moment of adoption; and available resources. We use case study analysis to account for this variation in institutional design. We then assess how the different rule design is likely to create a different set of institutional outcomes.