PBP and Public Agenda are facilitating the launch of the North American Participatory Budgeting Research Board with various participatory budgeting (PB) evaluators, academics, and researchers. Shortly after the 3rd International Conference on PB in North America, we came together in Oakland for our first meeting.

The goal of the board is to support the evaluation of PB processes across the US and Canada and guide a broader research agenda for PB. Over the years of PB in North America, many board members have already been informally collaborating and supporting one another’s work. With the rapid growth of PB in North America we see the importance of establishing the formal infrastructure to further strengthen and promote the research and evaluation.


The First Meeting and Historical Context

On a Sunday morning in Oakland in September, a group of leading researchers and evaluators converged at the PBP office for the first meeting of the North American PB Research Board. It was a rare and exciting moment: two hours of deep discussion amongst passionate individuals who have committed countless hours, and sometimes entire careers, to researching and evaluating PB processes in North America and overseas. This had the feeling of something that could make a vital contribution to the spread and improvement of PB in North America.

Research and evaluation have long been central features of North American PB processes. Academic researchers from diverse backgrounds have been fascinated with measuring the contribution of PB to social justice and the reform of democratic institutions. Local evaluation teams, particularly in NYC and Chicago, have conducted huge data collection efforts on an annual basis to ensure that fundamental questions such as “who participates?” and “what are the impacts of PB?” can be accurately answered.

Often the agendas of these researchers and evaluators have overlapped and presented opportunities for collaboration. PBP has played a key role in supporting both research and evaluation but, with the rapid expansion of PB in North America, we recognized the need for a more formal research and evaluation infrastructure in order to measure and communicate the impacts of PB across cities.


Partnering to Build Expertise and Capacity

Having identified this need, we saw the opportunity to partner with Public Agenda, a non-profit organization based in NYC with vast experience in research and public engagement. With leadership from Public Agenda, support from PBP, and contributions from leading researchers, the North American PB Research Board generates new capacity to expand and deepen PB.

Over 2014-2015 the board will have 17 members, including experienced PB evaluators and researchers based at universities and non-profit organizations.


2014-2015 North American PB Research Board

  • Gianpaolo Baiocchi, New York University
  • Thea Crum,Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Benjamin Goldfrank, Seton Hall University
  • Ron Hayduk, Queens College, CUNY
  • Gabe Hetland  , University of California-Berkeley
  • Alexa Kasdan, Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center
  • Matt Leighninger, Deliberative Democracy Consortium
  • Erin Markman, Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center
  • Stephanie McNulty, Franklin and Marshall College
  • Ana Paula Pimental Walker, University of Michigan
  • Sonya Reynolds, New York Civic Engagement Table
  • Daniel Schugurensky, Arizona State University
  • Paolo Spada, Participedia
  • Celina Su, Brooklyn College, CUNY
  • Rachel Swaner, New York University
  • Brian Wampler, Boise State University
  • Rachel Weber, Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Erik Wright, University of Wisconsin-Madison

To learn more about the North American PB Research Board, contact PBP Research Associate Madeleine Pape (madeleine@participatorybudgeting.org).