Brazilian Participatory Budgeting Census

Dataset on Brazilian Participatory Budgeting: 1989 to 2012

The Brazilian Participatory Budgeting (PB) Census is a data set that Participedia contributor Paolo Spada began collecting in 2008. It integrates and updates previous data collection efforts by Ribeiro & De Grazia (1997-2002) and Avritzer & Wampler (2004). The census includes all Brazilian cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants from 1989 through 2012 and identifies those that have implemented Participatory Budgeting. The resulting data set contains approximately 500 cities for six time periods, divided into four-year intervals. The PB census is geolocated and easily integrates with existing data sets maintained by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), and the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).

The census uses Yves Sintomer's five criteria to define participatory budgeting, and is created using a two-step methodology. First, internet research is conducted to identify elements that indicate the potential presence of participatory budgeting in a city. Next, each potential PB site is contacted by phone to determine whether or not the city has implemented participatory budgeting. The data set uses a four-year coding scheme that follows the electoral cycle. A city is coded as having implemented participatory budgeting if it has completed at least two cycles of participatory budgeting. This method was used twice to conduct a census: first in the spring of 2008 and a second time in the spring of 2012. See "Full PB Census 1989 to 2012.")

In 2012, Spada together with Brian Wampler, Mike Touchton, and Denilson Coelho, implemented a more detailed telephonic survey in the census to obtain data on the variety of designs of participatory budgeting. The results of the new survey are included below. (See "PB Census 2012 - variety of PB survey.")

In 2016 Spada has replicated the census for a third time thanks to the support of the EMPATIA project and in collaboration with Wagner de Melo Romão, Brian Wampler, and Mike Touchton. Many additional Brazilian scholars have provided comments and support. The research is funded by the EMPATIA project and by a grant from the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). The data is currently being reviewed and after a short embargo period will be released (December 2018). Below it is possible to access the previous iteration of the census with data up to 2012. A sneak preview of the 2016 dataset shows a further decline in participatory budgeting implementation.

The data is currently being used in several ongoing research projects and can be downloaded below:

"Full PB Census 1989 to 2012" by Paolo Spada (licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
Covers the census from 1989 to 2012, including a legend

"PB Census 2012 - variety of PB survey" by Paolo Spada (licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
Includes responses to the spring 2012 survey with results from the more detailed telephonic survey conducted later in 2012. The survey results were combined with internet research to generate the main variable contained in "Full PB Census 1989 to 2012" for the year 2012. For a detailed explanation of each of the columns/variables see the telephonic survey protocol (in Portuguese).

If you have questions about these Brazilian Participatory data sets, please contact Paolo Spada.

How to cite these data sets

As is true for all content on, use of these data sets is governed by the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial-Sharelike 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Please use the following APSA style format when citing these data sets: 

Spada, P. 2012. "Brazilian Participatory Budgeting Census: 1989-2012." Available at: / (DATE OF ACCESS).

Spada, P., Wampler, B., Touchton, M. & Coelho, D. 2012. "Variety of Brazilian Participatory Budgeting Designs: 2012."         Available at: / (DATE OF  ACCESS).

Citation in Text:

(Spada 2012)

(Spada, Wampler, Touchton, and Coelho 2012)