Although there has been much debate about the means of citizen participation, it is generally accepted that participatory democracy improves state responsiveness and creates better policies. Citizen participation allows voters to contribute to government decision-making beyond elections an can provide politically marginalised populations with a say in policy (Houtzager et al. 2003).
As a result, citizen participation has gained the support of governments and international development agencies alike. The participatory budgeting practices developed in Porto Alegre in Brazil in the late 1980s,for example, have been replicated in cities worldwide.