This year the Joint Sessions of the European Consortium of Political Research returns to Spain. Between the 10th and the 15th April, the University of Salamanca welcomes political science scholars from across the world, and at all stages of their career. Joan Font, research scientist of the Institute for Advanced Social Studies, will present the paper entitled From Participatory Policy Proposals to Local Policies: Explaining Diverse Trajectories and written together with Graham Smith (University of Westminster).

This paper, included in the workshop «Systematising Comparison of Democratic Innovations: Advanced Explanations of the Emergence, Sustenance and Failure of Participatory Institutions», focuses on of the aspects of participatory processes that has less often been the subject of systematic comparison: the fate of their outputs, that is, their policy proposals.

While some of these participatory processes have only a loose connection to the policy process, even amongst those that are more policy-oriented the general impression is that they have only limited impact on final policies of public authorities. One of the possibilities is that politicians and officials cherry-pick from amongst the proposals emerging from these participatory processes, but we know very little about the factors that affect whether these proposals are accepted, rejected or transformed. Understanding what happens with this selection of policy proposals is particularly crucial if we want to analyse the failure and sustenance of participatory processes. The goal of the paper is twofold. First, Font and Smith offer a theoretical model that aims to explain both the types of policies and the types of participatory processes that are more likely to be affected positively or negatively by cherry-picking. Second, thw authors sketch a proposal on how to operationalize this model using a dataset of policy proposals emerging from a range of participatory processes developed in three Spanish regions. The paper includes the analysis of the pilot cases used to test this operationalization model.

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