Participation in Economic Decision-Making: A Primer

Published on 12 June 2018

This primer is designed to help programmes that aim to build participation into economic decision-making to better understand what ‘participation’ means.

It focuses on what does meaningful participation in economic decision-making mean, and what might it look like? What does it mean to support people to have more control over their economic futures, and how might programmes do this?

It recognises that participation can happen at three interconnected levels, with different levels of agency exercised by funders of programmes:

  1. At the internal level: are programmatic processes participatory?
  2. At the beneficiary level: do the organisations (grantees) funded to work with target audiences use participatory processes?
  3. At the societal level: are there participatory processes within economic decision-making (e.g. government/investment decisions?) that programming can support.

This primer addresses all three levels and is intended to support developing a common language and understanding around key concepts to inform programme planning and implementation. It can also be used to develop ideas for different ways to build participatory practice internally.


Katy Oswald

Research Officer

Marina Apgar

Research Fellow

Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow

John Gaventa

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

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Publication details

published by
Oswald, K., Apgar, J.M., Thorpe, J., and Gaventa, J.


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