Local governments’ motives for adopting participatory budgeting: evidence from Estonia
Participatory budgeting as a successful participatory instrument has been implemented all over the world for almost 30 years. Since this concept is rather new in Estonian case, there is a gap in existing scholarly discussion about the main motives of local governments for adopting/not adopting this practice. Therefore, this thesis aims to understand the motives behind the adoption/non-adoption of participatory budgeting by Estonian local governments. The thesis aims to answer the following research questions: What are the main motives of local governments in terms of implementing participatory budgeting? What are the main motives of local governments that have decided not to implement participatory budgeting? Which actors and factors influence the diffusion of participatory budgeting in local governments in Estonia? In order to understand the motives of local governments for adopting participatory budgeting in local level context as well as examine the main factors and actors influencing the implementation of this practice, the theory of policy diffusion is used. In order to understand the motives of different local governments, author will examine 11 different local governments: towns of Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, Valga, Haapsalu and Võru and rural municipalities of Tapa, Tori, Lääne-Harju, Elva and Kambja. Five of these cases have used participatory budgeting on the local level, while six municipalities have not adopted participatory budgeting. The data is used in this analysis is originated from two main sources, including (a) documentation and information available on local governments’ websites about participatory budgeting and its procedure, and (b) semi-structured interviews with the representatives of different local governments involved or knowledgeable about the participatory budgeting process.