Multi-Channel Engagement: Does it generate more inclusion?


There is no doubt that the most successful democratic innovations offer a multiplicity of venues of participation, multiple public spaces, and multiple participatory decision-making mechanisms; however, there are also many examples in which the introduction of additional venues of citizen participation within a democratic innovation has backfired. In this project we aim to provide a more nuanced view of the role of redundancy and diversification in democratic innovations. The research is grounded in the EMPATIA project funded by an Horizon 2020 grant (1.5 Million Euros). Through Empatia we have collected data on the demographics of the participants of 4 participatory budgeting processes that employed an hybrid approach combining online and offline venues of engagement and we are now exploring if this approach generates more (or less) inclusion. The data will be integrated with data from the Participatory Budgeting project and data from the Democracy Matters project to create one of the largest dataset on demographics of participants in different engagement system.


A first paper introduces the framework we use in conducting this research project: From multichannell democratic innovations to participatory systems


The Digital Revolution and Governance in Brazil: Evidence from Participatory Budgeting (in collaboration with Brian Wampler and Mike Touchton).


This is the first project that has emerged from the more refined survey we implemented in 2012 in the Participatory Budgeting Census. The survey collected data on the design of PB processes. One interesting pattern emerged when comparing cities implementing hybrid PB and cities implementing traditional PB. Hybrid PBs that combine both online and offline venues of participation have, on average, less face to face meetings. This project uses cross-sectional data and is exploratory in nature, but points in the direction of a substitution effect in the design of multi-channel PB processes.