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Public vs. Public: Balancing the Competing Public Values of Participatory Budgeting

Junesoo Lee, Soonhee Kim & Jooho Lee
PAQ, Vol. 46 No. 1, 39-66 (2022)

Since its inception, participatory budgeting (PB) has been advocated for by both scholars and practitioners of public administration. In South Korea, PB has been widely adopted across local governments since 2004. Based on in-depth assessments of PB implementation that were collected from 229 local governments in South Korea, this study explores the competing public values of PB and analyzes how the capacity and commitment of local governments and citizens are associated with the public values that are achieved through PB. Results indicate that (1) there are several pairs of competing values pursued through PB, and (2) local governments’ communication channels and citizen participation are required to resolve and balance the tradeoffs of the PB public values; most notably, local government’s efforts to gather citizens’ inputs and educate them and PB participants’ budget literacy. We also offer several implications for how to improve PB implementation at the local government level.
Key Words: Participatory budgeting; Citizen participation; Public values; Competing values

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