This empirically grounded collection examines the growth of participatory institutions in Latin American democracy and how such institutions affect representative government. While most existing literature concentrates on model cases of participatory budgeting in Brazil, this volume investigates cases in Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina, where conditions for innovation have been far less favorable. The contributors, while recognizing the important differences and potential clashes between participatory and representative forms of democracy, ultimately favor participation, emphasizing its capacity to enhance and strengthen representative democracy.

Andrew D. Selee is director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute. Enrique Peruzzotti is a professor of political science at Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires and was a fellow at the Wilson Center in 2003–2004.

A Book Launch Event for Participatory Innovation and Democratic Democracy in Latin America was held on October 9, 2009, at the Wilson Center.



1. Participatory Innovation and Representative Democracy in Latin America
Enrique Peruzzotti and Andrew Selee

2. Democratizing Budgetary Decisions and Execution in Brazil: More Participation or Redesign of Formal Institutions?
Marcus André Melo

3. The Politics of Institutional Innovation: The Implementation of Participatory Budgeting in the City of Buenos Aires
Enrique Peruzzotti

4. An Alternative to Clientelism? Participatory Innovation in Mexico
Andrew Selee

5. Against All Odds: Participatory Local Governance and the Urban Poor in Chile
Anny Rivera-Ottenberger

6. Decentralization, Local Initiatives, and Citizenship in Bolivia,1994–2004
Roberto Laserna



Participatory Innovation and Representative Democracy in Latin America assesses with expert eyes fascinating experiments…in giving citizens a greater voice in local government.”—Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs

Participatory Innovation and Representative Democracy in Latin America is an important contribution to expanding our knowledge of how participatory institutions emerge under less than ideal conditions and their implications for democratic processes.”—Stephanie L. Smith, Governance

“The sophisticated yet accessible conceptual framework is excellent, transcending widely held assumptions about the dichotomy between participatory and representative democracy. And in an area where most works focus specifically on one city, or one country, the cross—national comparative approach stands out as distinctive. This book is clearly a significant contribution.”—Jonathan Fox, University of California, Santa Cruz