When citizens make policy proposals: has the economic crisis changed anything?

GT 1.8 Democracia y Crisis

Pau Alarcón Pérez (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Graham Smith
Carol Galais (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
Joan Font Fábregas (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas)
Sesión 2
Día: martes,14 de julio de 2015
Hora: 09:00 a 11:00
Lugar: Aula 3

The direct participation of lay citizens in policy-making is more the exception than the rule in most democracies. Our knowledge of participatory processes and the impact of their proposals is limited. This lack of understanding is compounded when we consider the contemporary context of the economic crisis. How does a context of austerity politics impact on citizen participation? This paper offers initial insights into the extent to which the crisis context impacts on the type and fate of policy proposals that emerge from participatory processes. The analysis draws on data that illuminates the characteristics of 611 policy proposals that emerged from 39 participatory processes developed in 25 municipalities of three Spanish regions. The period of data collection – 2007 to 2011 – straddles the emergence of the economic crisis, allowing us to investigate the extent to which there is a ‘crisis effect’ on participatory governance. Following a description of the character of participatory processes and the content of the proposals generated, the paper turns to a multivariate analysis and treatment effect analysis to explore the impact of the emergence of the crisis on the character and fate of proposals. The provisional results point towards a significant effect, reflected in less costly demands and in less responsive governments.

Palabras clave: participación, políticas públicas, gobierno local, crisis