Diffusion of participatory budgets in Poland: do neighbours matter?

Piotr Wetoszka


Objective of the study: The subject of the study are participatory budgets – social innovations used by local municipalities to involve citizens in local budgetary decisions with roots in Brazil. The main objective was to determine how being part of a social network affects the decision to introduce participatory budgets made by municipalities in Poland, where a remarkable spread of the innovation has been observed since the early 2010s.

Methodology: Spatial autocorrelation tests and visualizations were used to uncover clusters of communes with most similar or dissimilar characteristics.

Originality/Relevance: Novelty of the study approach lies in the utilization of an own database ­­– with the intention to overcome the problem of data insufficiency, typical of related research.

Main results: The presence of spatial proximity-based peer effects was confirmed in the study. The concentration of innovators has remained spatially uneven, which is to be linked to e.g. the cross-regionally diverse forms of social capital. The data-based study design allows to explore participatory budgets as products of social networks and not only individual strategies, as evidenced by numerous case studies in the field.

Methodological contributions: The study demonstrates the relevance of collecting longitudinal data for the development of research on participatory budgets.

Social/management contributions: Insights from the study are of practical value for recent and future. adopters, wishing to understand the broader relevance of their policies, as well as for  higher level policy-makers trying to better adapt their legal frameworks to the current and future waves of innovators.


Participatory budget; Diffusion; Peer effects; Spatial proximity; Poland.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5585/iji.v10i4.21876


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