Electronic Participatory Budgeting


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Presentation on electronic participatory budgeting at Midwest Decision Sciences Institute 2009 conference, Miami University, Oxford Ohio, April 18, 2009.

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Electronic Participatory Budgeting

  1. 1. Supporting Community Deliberation and Decision-making with Online Tools Cory Allen Heidelberger Dakota State University MWDSI—April 18, 2009
  2. 2. Overview  Motivation and Objectives  Background on PB  Gaps in research/practice  Normative framework 1. participatory budgeting/participation in general 2. use of online decision support tools for PB (ePB) 3. design guidelines for ePB  Proposed prototype/experiment
  3. 3. What got me thinking...  citizen participation: great goal... or is it?  learn about complicated budget issues  attend public fora  navigate large-group discussions  thousands of person hours to do what city commission can do in dozens  worth the effort?
  4. 4. Objectives  propose justification for participatory budgeting  political science, public administration  propose justification for use of computer-assisted decision support: electronic PB  information systems, PB practice  propose practice design guidelines for ePB  use these guidelines as basis for prototype, local trial
  5. 5. Participatory Budgeting (PB): Design Principles  citizens and/or delegates discuss and debate public needs  formal rules link participatory inputs and budgeting process  open public process and broader range of actors expand monitoring of budget  neighborhoods receive tangible returns, which encourages participation (Baiocchi et al. 2008)
  6. 6. Participatory Budgeting: Where?  Porto Alegre, Brazil, 1989  spread elsewhere in Brazil early 1990s  currently hundreds of cities worldwide  some small cities (15K-20K)  four Canadian cities  rare in U.S.  property tax resists redistribution to low- income areas?
  7. 7. PB Lite: Online Educational Tools  American Public Media’s “Budget Hero”  U.S. federal budget  deficit reduction  comparison with presidential candidates  discussion forum on Gather.com  Copenhagen Consensus Center  priorities for global problems (hunger, disease, terrorism, air pollution)  Both educate; neither official
  8. 8. Gap: Normative Framework for Citizen Participation  Democracy/participation good... right?  New Public Administration  “exclusionary technocracy”  descriptive theory (Stewart 2007) proposes game theory/competition approach  competition model ignores cooperative public admin. goals  need guidelines for establishing civic partnership to check political games
  9. 9. Gap: PB Practice in USA  Birthplace of modern democracy... PB should be breaking out all over  No large-scale implementations  Hard to find examples in small-town USA
  10. 10. Gap: PB-Information Systems Connection  PB literature rarely mentions information systems  websites often appear in PB communities  no evident systematic use of online tools to support PB  PB tends to focus on face-to-face interaction  Note: Computers/Internet not necessary  Athens! Agora!  Philadelphia 1776  Computers/Internet certainly useful!  online organizing  DSU
  11. 11. Citizen Participation: Justification in Political Language  Legitimacy  all have capacity and right to participate  Property rights  “It’s our money!”  Trust  working together means less distance, less alienation
  12. 12. Citizen Participation: Justification in Business Language  Stakeholder buy-in  Democracy = project management  Participants take ownership of budget  Competition in marketplace of ideas  More ideas/perspectives to choose from  Better systems  Participatory design discovers user needs better (Mumford, 1983)  Increased public resources  PB  more tax revenue, less delinquency (Cabannes, 2004)
  13. 13. Electronic Participatory Budgeting: Justification  Participation is expensive – opportunity cost!  Three ways to overcome opportunity cost: 1. increase citizens’ wealth (hard) 2. increase citizens’ motivation to participate (hard) 3. decreasing cost of participation (online DSS!)
  14. 14. Electronic Participatory Budgeting: Justification  Broader representation  PB focuses on increasing low-income representation  ePB lowers opp. cost  Social auditing  online records = many eyes  Transparency  More citizens see what’s happening and what happened
  15. 15. Electronic Participatory Budgeting: Justification  “Deliberation within” (Goodin, 2003)  PB usually in public meetings  ePB allows asynchronous, more thought time  can check informational and social pressures of group deliberation (Sunstein, 2005)  Education  frequently cited as pre-req and positive outcome of PB  online information augments public meetings, supports ongoing learning
  16. 16. Electronic Participatory Budgeting: Design Principles  Good gov’t budget Web design (Tanaka, 2007)  up-to-date info  clear graphics  multiple formats (prose, charts, graphs...)  relevant links  easy navigation and search
  17. 17. Electronic Participatory Budgeting: Design Principles  Data accessibility  offer budget data in formats users can easily access and manipulate  HTML, Excel – never just PDF  Good example: Stimulus.Virginia.Gov  Excel format—download, sort!  First 48 hours: nearly 1,000 proposals  Feb. 10 – Mar 6: over 9,000 proposals
  18. 18. Electronic Participatory Budgeting: Design Principles  Background materials  complete, balanced, neutral (Lukensmeyer & Brigham, 2005)  Deliberation space  online forum or wiki captures citizen discussion  Social auditing  integrate site with municipal record-keeping
  19. 19. Prototype 1: “More or Less”  Allows citizens to define “more” and “less”  percentages  averages based on historical budget data  assume inflation  Asks citizens whether they want to spend “more,” “same,” or “less” on various budget items  Displays current spending and savings/expense of user choices  Can include links to explanatory materials  Can include discussion, summary of other citizen inputs
  20. 20. Prototype 2: “Chopping Block”  Assesses citizen priorities  “Would you consider cuts...?”  “definitely” – “never”  pick number of programs to cut, see savings...  ...or set amount to cut from budget, see programs cut by chosen priority  Also aggregate all submitted responses  Can include links to explanatory materials  Can include discussion, summary of other citizen inputs
  21. 21. Future design/research work  Capture suggestions for new programs  Deploy and test online with real citizens  Host face-to-face meetings for comparable exercises
  22. 22. Research Questions  Do citizens and public officials find ePB tools useful?  Do ePB tools draw participants representative of the population?  Is there a minimum population for communities that can derive benefits from ePB?  Can ePB serve as a decision support tool for elected officials?
  23. 23. Electronic Participatory Budgeting Questions, Comments, and Suggestions welcome!
  24. 24. References American Public Media. Budget Hero: Frequently asked questions. City of Gresham. Minutes. City Involvement Committee Meeting. 2008. Retrieved 2008.12.10 from December 3, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://budgethero.publicradio.org/widget/faq/ Baierle, S. Whittling down the potential of participatory http://greshamoregon.gov/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifi budgeting? The Governance Link, July 2008, issue 4, 1–4. er=id&ItemID=14500 Retrieved 2008.12.03 from City of Madison. Finance Office website, 2008. Retrieved 2008.12.10 http://www.ongcidade.org/site/php/noticias from /noticias.php?area=artigos&completa&id_noticia=1021 Baiocchi, G., and Lerner, J. Could participatory budgeting work in http://cityofmadisonsd.com/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={ the United States? The Good Society, 2007, 16(1), 8–13. 858CB03D-474D-4217-8116-8B9B05FCC119} Belanger, F., & Hiller, J.S. A framework for e-government: Privacy City of Madison. Annual city budget books, provided by Lingle, J., implications. Business Process Management Finance Office, December 2, 2008. Journal, 2006, 12(1), 48–60. City of Madison. Monthly web statistics for cityofmadisonsd.com. Box, R. Citizen governance: Leading American communities into the 21st century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998. Retrieved Provided by Eimers, J., Finance Office, January 16, 2009. February 11, 2009, from Clement, C. City questioned about Schaefer zoning request. http://books.google.com/books?id=5jSeZI0qRWAC Madison Daily Leader, November 18, 2008. Retrieved February Box, R. Private lives and anti-administration. Administrative Theory 10, 2009, from and Praxis, 2001, 23(4), 541–558. http://www.madisondailyleader.com/site/news.cfm?dept_id=1 Bräutigam, D. The people's budget? Politics, participation and pro- poor policy. Development Policy Review, November 81987&PAG=461&rfi=6&newsid=20201142 2004, 22(6), 653–668. Condon, S. The first wiki president? Obama adviser votes “Yea.” C- Cabannes, Y. Participatory budgeting: A significant contribution to Net News, October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008.11.09 from participatory democracy. Environment & Urbanization, April http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10079575-38.html 2004, 16(1), 27–46. Campbell, D.J., and Gingrich, K. F. The interactive effects of task Fernández-Maldonado, A.M. Virtual cities as a tool for complexity and participation on task performance: A field democratization in developing countries. Knowledge, experiment. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Technology, & Policy, 2005, 18(1), 43–61. Processes, October, 1986, 38, 162–180. Cited in Kren, 1992. Chadwick, A., and May, C. Interaction between states and citizens Fox, M. Porto Alegre’s participatory budgeting at a crossroads. in the age of the internet: ‘e-Government’ in the United North American Congress on Latin America. April 14, 2008. States, Britain, and the European Union.” Governance: An Retrieved 2008.12.03 from http://nacla.org/node/4566 International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, April 2003, 16, 271–300.
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