The Effect of Municipal Housing Councils on Policy Outcomes
Civil society organizations (CSOs) in Brazil and elsewhere call for the implementation of participatory governance institutions because they believe they can infl uence policy by having a seat at the table with government offi cials. 2 As the leader quoted here states, the role of CSOs is to present their demands and manage the resources governments make available to them. Through this process the government gains legitimacy and CSOs gain social benefi ts for the citizens they represent. But, does the participatory process live up to its promise? Are participatory governance mechanisms effective democratic institutions for creating accountability and responsiveness to the needs of the poor? The answers to these questions are critical as development scholars, donors, and governments continue to recommend participatory institutions as a means of generating greater redistribution of resources toward addressing social challenges.