Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

State Politics & Policy Quarterly



Publisher Name

Cambridge University Press


Inequalities in terms of who participates in politics yield policy outcomes that fail to reflect the interests of the broader public. Because these processes fail to engage the full citizenry in political decision-making processes, they are also markers of an anemic civic culture. Advocates of participatory budgeting (PB) – a process implemented at the subnational level in thousands of cities in the United States and beyond that invites residents to participate directly in the process of allocating public resources for local projects – argue that it can alleviate these inequalities. They argue that features of the PB process make it ripe for engaging new participants in the political process and weaving a more inclusive social fabric. We examine the correlates of interest in participating in PB using a survey of Cook County residents. We also consider the extent to which the policy priorities of those who are interested in participating diverge from those who are less interested. Although we find evidence that the process is particularly appealing to younger respondents and those who identify as Latine or Black (as opposed to White), we also find that interest is higher among those with higher socioeconomic status and those who perceive conditions in their neighborhood to already be good. Our evidence also suggests that inequalities in who is interested in participating may not radically affect policy outcomes. However, those who decline to participate cannot reap the broader social and political benefits advocates hope the PB process can foster.


Author Posting © The Author(s), 2023. This article is posted here by permission of Cambridge University Press for personal use and redistribution. This article was published open access in State Politics & Policy Quarterly, (December 5, 2023),

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.