Governance matters. Fieldwork on participatory budgeting, voting, and development from Campania, Italy

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On the wave of the success of the participatory budgeting (PB) implemented in Porto Alegre, Brazil, a number of administrations around the world jumpstarted new forms of nonfinancial balance reporting. This trend was supported by an increasing consensus from the international community. PB aims to enhance mutual trust between the different social stakeholders and foster public administrations transparency. For this reason, PB is recognized as an effective tool for facilitating good governance, sustainability, and development. Previous field research does not highlight local voting and corruption figures. To shed light on these variables throughout a case study, this article makes use of original mixed methods techniques to analyze the PB experience of a municipality in Southern Italy. The combination of data regarding census, voting shares, and projects' features is a methodological innovation, used here for the first time. Fieldwork has been conducted to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. These data were employed along with official demographics statistics to inspect existing public management and development dynamics. Four distinct data sources, intersecting population and voting data through the PB tool were examined. After mainstreaming PB, referring to the world's benchmark of Porto Alegre, this article investigates the good practice of Casamarciano, Campania. Evidence shows compelling features from the local experience and encouraging involvement of the community, rating the poll participation even greater than Porto Alegre engagement. The qualitative data pinpoints the local administration's management choices—noteworthy, the town's PB model—and the innovation behind the public management strategies. These outcomes may help to better understand PB dynamics, yielding improved local development and sustainability indications for public affairs governance.

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Journal of Public Affairs



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