Does Participatory Budgeting Bolster Voter Turnout in Elections ? The Case of the Czech Republic

Soňa Kukučková 1  and Eduard Bakoš 2
  • 1 Department of Finance, Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University in Brno
  • 2 Department of Public Economics, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Masaryk University, Brno

Abstract

Though participatory budgeting (PB) is often discussed as a tool to bolster the level of civic participation and the quality of democracy, empirical research on the subject offers ambiguous results. In the Czech Republic, PB was introduced 5 years ago, and the number of implemented PBs has since increased substantially. The purpose of this article is to evaluate whether the use of PB is associated with higher voter turnout in municipal and parliamentary elections. Voter turnout in Czech municipalities that implemented PB is analyzed and compared with the control group of municipalities without PB. Considered by type of election, we found that the impact of PB use on voter turnout is higher for local elections than it is for national elections, which is in line with our assumptions. However, our results were significant for Prague districts only. Participatory budgeting could increase voter turnout in local election, but there are other factors that must be considered.

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