Participatory budgeting is still partisan. The (de-)partisanization of Parisian participatory budgets (2014–2020)

Do elected officials like democracy?
By William Arhip-Paterson

Participatory budgeting appears to have become non-partisan. I studied to what extent recent participatory budgets in Paris are partisan. My data comes from an ethnography, archives, and a synchronic comparison of Parisian participatory budgets. I found that Paris’s participatory budget is a left-wing partisan political offer, but that all arrondissement mayors—even those on the right—implement non-partisan participatory budgets within their arrondissements. The influence of partisanship has shifted and is now to be found in the intensity with which these budgets are developed. I conclude that the partisan characteristics of a participatory budget can no longer be determined by its implementation (or non-implementation), but by other indicators instead.

  • participatory democracy
  • participatory budgeting
  • elected officials
  • Paris
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