In Ecuador, the participatory political design of the political party forming the government from 2007 to 2017, along with the constitution of 2018, created opportunities for citizen participation. Participatory budgeting (PB) is the most commonly used citizen participation mechanism. The direct participation of citizens is reflected in improving the governance by democratizing decision processes. The contribution of PB to the local management and governance of seven rural communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon was analyzed using a case study. Based on (1) the level of compliance with municipal planning through management indicators and, the amounts allocated to PB, (2) along with the level of citizen satisfaction, complementary perspectives (acquired through a survey) on the implementation of PB are provided. These sources of evidence allowed us to critically assess the effects of PB in the improvement of local management and governance. We found low levels of municipal planning compliance, i.e., a 20% (2017) and 43% (2018), high levels of citizen dissatisfaction (around 91%) and also a "disagreement" with the PB implementation process. Finally, it is observed that the implementation of the participatory budget in rural communities presents deficiencies that limit the obtaining of representative benefits and that imply an improvement in the governance and quality of life of the citizenry. This is mainly caused by the low interest of citizens to participate in the phases of execution and monitoring of projects, due to a low culture and participatory education.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research received no external funding. We thank the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana of Ecuador for the funds provided for the information survey and the Municipal DAG of Gualaquiza for the access granted to the Participatory Budgeting documentation.
© 2020 by the authors.
- Local government
- Multi-level governance
- Participatory budgeting
- Rural communities