Research and Evaluation of Participatory Budgeting in the U.S. and Canada

Public Agenda: “Communities across the country are experimenting with participatory budgeting (PB), a democratic process in which residents decide together how to spend part of a public budget. Learning more about how these community efforts are implemented and with what results will help improve and expand successful forms of participatory budgeting across the U.S. and Canada.

Public Agenda is supporting local evaluation efforts and sharing research on participatory budgeting. Specifically, we are:

  • Building a community of practice among PB evaluators and researchers.
  • Working with evaluators and researchers to make data and research findings comparable across communities that use participatory budgeting.
  • Developing key metrics and research tools to help evaluate participatory budgeting (download these documents here).
  • Publishing a “Year in Participatory Budgeting Research” review based on data, findings, experiences and challenges from sites in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Conducting original, independent research on elected officials’ views of and experiences with participatory budgeting.
  • Convening the North American Participatory Budgeting Research Board.

…Below, you will find evaluation tools and resources we developed in close collaboration with PB evaluators and researchers in the U.S. and Canada. We also included the local evaluation reports from communities around the U.S. and Canada using PB in budget decisions.

To be the first to hear about new PB resources and news, join our email list. We also invite you to email us to join our listserv and participate in discussion about evaluation and research of participatory budgeting in the U.S. and Canada.

New to PB and looking to introduce it to your community? You should start here instead! Once your PB effort is under way, come back to this page for tools to evaluate how you’re doing.

15 Key Metrics for Evaluating Participatory Budgeting: A Toolkit for Evaluators and Implementers

Evaluation is a critical component of any PB effort. Systematic and formal evaluation can help people who introduce, implement, participate in or otherwise have a stake in PB understand how participatory budgeting is growing, what its reach is, and how it’s impacting the community and beyond.

We developed the 15 Key Metrics for Evaluating Participatory Budgeting toolkit for people interested in evaluating PB efforts in their communities. It is meant to encourage and support some common research goals across PB sites and meaningfully inform local and national discussions about PB in the U.S. and Canada. It is the first iteration of such a toolkit and especially focused on providing practical and realistic guidance for the evaluation of new and relatively new PB processes.

Anyone involved in public engagement or participation efforts other than participatory budgeting may also be interested in reviewing the toolkit for research and evaluation ideas.

The toolkit requires registration before you can download.

The toolkit includes the following sections:

15 Key Metrics for Evaluating Participatory Budgeting: 15 indicators (“metrics”) that capture important elements of each community-based PB process and the PB movement in North America overall. Click here for a brief description of these metrics….(More)”