Citizens’ Voice in Economic Issues

This area of work explores the realm of participation within ‘fiscal spaces’ and processes of economic decision-making at different levels, from local and municipal budgeting to national economic policy making, to issues of global finance, trade and corporate accountability. How do ordinary people engage with economic issues, actors and policies, and how do they gain the ‘economic literacy’ and expertise they need to engage effectively?

Three new areas of work currently fall under this theme:

Economic literacy

In partnership with Just Associates, the Participation Group has developed an inventory of innovative methodologies and materials used in popular education for deciphering, understanding and acting on both local and global economic issues. The survey includes contact details and links to the organisations involved in this work.

Trade policy

Three new IDS studies explore the way a range of development actors view and engage with the arena of trade policy, focusing in particular on the challenges encountered by civil society actors participating in that arena. Research by Karen Brock and Rosemary McGee explores the way civil society engages with trade policy in Africa, Peter Newell and Diana Tussie examine the dynamics of social movements and trade policy in Latin America and Shefali Sharma looks at citizen engagement on the WTO’s Agreement of Agriculture in India.

Local Governance and Economic Resources

A third area of work in collaboration with LogoLink, focuses on Resources, Citizen Engagement and Democratic Local Governance (ReCitE). Through case studies from five countries (Brazil, India, the Philippines, Uganda, and the US), ReCitE is exploring how citizens engage in resource-related processes at the local level of governance, notably revenue raising, budget allocation and expenditure monitoring.

Key contacts

John Gaventa

Research Fellow and Director, Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme

Project details

start date
13 February 2009
end date
1 November 2009

Recent work