Public Policy Transfer
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Public Policy Transfer

Micro-Dynamics and Macro-Effects

Edited by Magdaléna Hadjiisky, Leslie A. Pal and Christopher Walker

Contemporary policy making is deeply influenced by the borrowing, transfer and diffusion of ideas and models from other countries, levels of government and supranational institutions. This is the first book to analyze comparatively the micro-dynamics of transfer across regions, contrasting policy fields, multiple levels of governance, and institutional actors. Grounded in original research by specialists in the field, it provides fresh and arresting insights into competition among transfer agents, resistances, local coalitions, translation, and policy learning. This empirical depth informs a reinvigorated and nuanced theoretical framework on global policy transfer processes.
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Chapter 8: Participatory budgeting transfers in Southern Africa: global players, regional organizations and local actors

Osmany Porto de Oliveira


Participatory Budgeting (PB) has become one of the most popular citizen participation policies in the world. It was first implemented in Porto Alegre (Brazil) in 1989, under the Workers Party’s progressive government and subsequently gained further international popularity following the World Social Forums event in 2001. Several international organizations, such as the World Bank, actively recommend the implementation of PB. Today, about 2,800 municipalities across the globe have adopted PB. The region where PB transfers are now growing fastest is Sub-Saharan Africa and here there are over 200 policy transfer experiences. This chapter considers how micro and macro dynamics interacted on the transfer process of PB. Discussion examines key mechanisms that contribute to PB transfers and who the major actors are that engage in its promotion. The chapter focuses on the process of PB transfers to Southern African countries. Three cases are presented: Maputo in Mozambique, Makhado in South Africa, and Ampasy Nahampoana in Madagascar. The main argument is that the spread of PB in sub-Saharan Africa is the result of a set of forces deployed by individuals and institutions that are constantly working to legitimize participatory governance, connecting local, regional and global players through international events, training teams, as well as producing technical material. Three mechanisms of transfer are discussed in the chapter: 1) the circulation of individuals, 2) networking and, 3) induction. The narrative presents how these mechanisms operate both at the regional level, as well as in different cases. Moreover, translation processes – that is, the reinterpretation of the meaning of the ideational dimension of PB – are also highlighted as an important dimension of policy transfer. Finally, particular attention is dedicated to the activism and transnational circulation of individuals, identified as ‘ambassadors of participation’. These individuals play a key role in the transfer process of PB. Keywords: participatory budgeting, sub-Saharan Africa, ambassadors of participation, World Bank, Africities, UN-Habitat

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