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4901 - Citizen Participation in Brazilian Local Government Policymaking: an overview and determinants analysis

The 1988 Federal Constitution introduced participative democratic principles that became guidelines for the policymaking, especially in social policies, during the last two decades in Brazil. This institutional change is part of the democratization process that emphasized not only political and administrative decentralization, but also a movement for citizen empowerment. Since then, several municipalities have created a variety of participation channels such as education boards, participative budgeting and social policies committees. These latter are, indeed, the most national wide arrangement that promote social participation in the policymaking decisions. Despite its relevance, our knowledge about the institutionalization of these committees is still narrow. In order to fill this gap, this inquiry’s goals are threefold. First, it ranks Brazilian’s cities based on citizens’ participation openness level, a social capital proxy that measures how these municipality’s social policies boards are organized and their functioning. We employ principal component analysis to elaborate a synthetic index using 2009 national wide local governments survey (MUNIC/IBGE) that offers data of the number of committees, their features, duties and effectiveness. Considering the cities size differences in Brazil, they are separated by seven range of population. The second goal is to develop an exploratory analysis to find patterns and describe how the indexes are distributed among Brazilian regions. Finally, using multiple regression analysis the research aims to evaluate the impact of political and environmental factors on the municipalities’ propensity to establish effectively these types of participation channels. Grounded on Robert Putnam’s findings and democracy theory assumptions, the hypotheses to be tested involve the impacts of socioeconomic and political factors on the levels of citizen participation openness.

Keywords: Citizen Participation, Institutional Change, Democratization, Policy Decision, Brazil.

Author: Cavalcante, Pedro (Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil / Brasilien)

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