DEMOC – Citizen evaluation of participatory budgets in Catalonia

Satisfaction, problems and effects on political trust and legitimacy.

Period: July 2023 – December 2024

Funding source: Generalitat de Catalunya. Department of External Action and Open Government.

Program and call: DEMOC grants for research projects in the field of democratic quality

Reference number: EXI100/22/000007

Project coordinator: Rosa Borge (CNSC, IN3-UOC) – Principal Investigator.

Participants in the project: Rosa Borge Bravo (leader of the CNSC, IN3-UOC), Joan Balcells Padullés (GADE, UOC), Albert Padró-Solanet (GADE, UOC), Carol Galais González (UAB), Carola Castellà Josa (DIBA) , Raül Rodríguez Fernández (CNSC, IN3-UOC), Andreu Orte del Molino (DIBA), Laia Márquez Muñoz (CNSC, IN3-UOC), Joel Peiruza Parga (CNSC, IN3-UOC)


In recent years, the number of participatory budgets throughout Catalonia has multiplied. Simultaneously, there has been a trend towards the progressive digitization of these processes using platforms such as Decidim. The result is a rich but fragmented map of participatory budgets in Catalonia, featuring diverse approaches and varying methods for evaluating their impact and functioning.

The gap between the expectations associated with these processes and the final results can lead to attrition and adverse effects. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on how different actors involved evaluate and perceive the functioning of participatory budgets. This assessment is sought not only by administrations but also by citizens.

The aim is to establish common criteria and methodology for the public evaluation of participatory budgets. Additionally, the intention is for it to be useful for all local administrations, promoting comparability and continuous improvement.

General Objectives:

(1) Measure the level of satisfaction of citizens with participatory budgets carried out in Catalonia through the Decidim platform in the last two years.

(2) Propose a common methodology for all municipalities to capture this citizen satisfaction and its impact on their political attitudes, primarily on trust in local institutions and the legitimacy of municipal politics.

Operational objectives:

(1) Collection of information from all surveys and satisfaction questionnaires with the processes for comparative analysis and proposal of a common minimum questionnaire among municipalities.

(2) Update a database on participatory budget processes in Catalan municipalities, including variables on various phases of the process and compositional characteristics of the municipalities.

(3) Case study analysis in 4 different municipalities conducting participatory budgets between 2023 and 2024.

(4) Proposal of procedures and methods to evaluate participant satisfaction to capture the impact of the process on participant attitudes.

(5) Special emphasis on citizen evaluation of deliberative phases due to their relevance and impact on political attitudes.

(6) Analysis of the impact on political attitudes, primarily on trust and legitimacy of local political institutions.

Photo by João Marcelo Martins under Unsplash license.

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