The present work is the outcome of an essay prepared for "Disclosure Policies and Innovations in Governance", a core course held by Professor Elena Fagotto at the Second Level Master in International Public Affairs organized by the School of Government of LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome, Italy, academic year 2010/2011.
Participatory health councils allow Brazilian citizens to oversee the country's public health system (the Sistema Único de Saúde - Unified Health System or SUS). These councils exist at the municipal, state, and national level, and are supplemented by a national conference on the Brazilian health system held every four years. Though these coucils vary in diversity and in their success in impacting government decisions, citizens generally remain actively involved with the councils.
Participatory decentralization is the process of handing out legitimate political authority to the citizens. It contributes to democratization by bringing the government ‘closer to the people’, imparting the citizens with political knowledge through their participation in local management, and making the government more accountable. 
This case is a randomized field experiment, which examines the differences in decision-making and legitimacy in town meeting versus plebiscitary (direct voting) methods of decision. The experimenter - Benjamin Olken - examined this question in the context of decisions about infrastructure investments in Indonesian villages.