Past Event


International Policy Diffusion and Participatory Budgeting

31 March 2017 12:00–13:00

Convening Space,
Institute of Development Studies,
Library Road,

In this seminar, Osmany Porto de Oliveira will address the International Diffusion of Participatory Budgeting, which is the theme of his book just released by Palgrave McMillan.

The first part will present the state of the debate on Policy Diffusion. This will be followed by the main question of the book: how Participatory Budgeting, a policy developed in Brazil in 1989, reached a global recognition being adopted in more than 2800 cities worldwide? He will also open the ‘kitchen’ of his study and present his research strategy the ‘transnational political ethnography’ that was developed to understand international policy diffusion.

The second part will discuss his main argument, which defends that the action of a group of individuals called ‘Ambassadors of Participation’ was crucial to make participatory budgeting (PB) part of the international agenda. In this research different mechanisms were identified as entities facilitating the diffusion of participatory budgeting. The operation of these mechanisms will be discussed with examples of participatory budgeting adoption in the Andes and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Three main mechanisms will be explored:

  1. The circulation of individuals: the so called ‘Ambassadors of Participation’
  2. Institutional Induction from International Organizations
  3. Policy translation

The concluding section will explore the way in which policy diffusion and cooperation for development are intrinsically intertwined. It will also show how participatory budgeting was a precursor of a new direction of Brazilian foreign policy that used ‘policy export’ as a strategy for international legitimacy. Finally, he will introduce some theoretical insights from the case participatory budgeting that could be generalized to other social policies.

About the speaker

Osmany Porto de Oliveira is Professor of International Relations at the Federal University of São Paulo and also researcher at CEBRAP. He received his PhDs in Political Science from the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris III and the University of São Paulo. He holds a M.A in Latin American Studies (University of Sorbonne Nouvelle/IHEAL) and his B.A in International Relations (University of Bologne – Italy).

His research is dedicated the international dimension of public policies, with focus on the diffusion of social participation, food security and conditional cash transfers policies. He is author of ‘International Policy Diffusion and Participatory Budgeting: Ambassadors of Participation, International Institutions and Transnational Networks’, Palgrave McMillan, 2017 and ‘Le transfert d’un modèle de démocratie participative: Paradiplomatie entre Porto Alegre et Saint-Denis”, Éditions de L’IHEAL-CREDA. He organized the International Seminar on Policy Diffusion in 2016.

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Key contacts

Alice Webb

Communications and Impact Officer

+44 (0)1273 915803


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