Demokratisk innovation eller ett spel för gallerierna? : En demokratiteoretisk utvärdering av Participatory Budgeting i en svensk kommun
The aim of this thesis is to explore the institutional design of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in Sweden and how the design may contribute to realize central democratic goods. The study records the different PB experiences in Sweden and focuses on one particular case, which is the only case that successfully qualifies as a genuine PB-process according to international standards and definitions. To examine this, the following questions are asked: which municipalities in Sweden have implemented Participatory Budgeting? How can the institutional design of Participatory Budgeting be described and to what extent does it enable the realization of central democratic goods? To what extent does the institutional design enable the realization of the democratic goods inclusion, popular control, considered judgment and transparency? To what extent does the institutional design enable the realization of the institutional goods of efficiency and transferability?
The study is based on an institutional theory of democracy. The method used is a mixed method ideal type analysis that combines document analysis, surveys and interviews. The results of the study indicates that the PB-institutions has multiple flaws regarding the way it enables the realization of numerous of the democratic goods analyzed. The institutional design does not pay enough attention to inclusion of different social groups including marginalized groups, popular control is restricted to issues of low political salience and the PB process does not live up to the transparency level expected from a democratic institution. On the other hand, the institutional design of the PB process does take into account some aspects of inclusion among the youth inhabitants and the process has been effective in the sense that it has delivered physical results quickly.
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