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How Successful is Participatory Budgeting in Promoting Social Equity? Evidence from New York City

Ashley Kuenneke and Gina Scutelnicu
PAQ, Vol. 45 No. 4, 370-391 (2021)

This study examines how successful the NYC’s participatory budgeting (PB) has been in promoting social equity in its city council districts. Drawing on secondary data coming from NYC council data and American Community Survey, this study specifically examines how successful PB has been in engaging under-represented groups in its decision-making process, and in allocating funds equitably. Findings suggest that districts with a higher percentage of Asian-American and mixed race residents have a higher percentage of PB voters. The study finds that African–Americans, residents of Hispanic origin and women were not significant predictors of PB voters. Additionally, results indicate that districts with a higher percentage of people living below the poverty level and more Asian-American residents allocate more funds to PB projects. Other under-represented groups such as foreign born population and youth between 14 and 18 years of age did not have a statistically significant relationship with neither PB voters nor funding.
Keywords: Participatory budgeting; civic engagement; social equity.

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