Size and Participatory Democracy: Evidence from Brazil's Municipal Health Councils 


How does local context condition the implementation of top-down participatory initiatives? Consistent with a long tradition of research linking size and democracy, I find that population size plays a powerful role in shaping how actors adapt participatory institutions to fit local contexts. Drawing on original evidence from Brazil’s municipal health councils, I demonstrate that councils in larger municipalities are more internally complex and autonomous from elected officials, but also less inclusive—particularly with regards to class and gender.  These patterns shed light on the challenges to scaling up direct citizen participation, and suggest that research on the consequences of participatory institutions should pay more attention to heterogeneity across contexts.

Work-in-progress seminars are designed to generate in-depth discussion of new scholarly work. For the pre-circulated paper and to attend, register with

Speakers / Related People
Peter Johannessen

Peter Johannessen (PhD, Princeton University), a 2017–18 Kellogg visiting fellow, is a political scientist who studies decentralization and the political economy of development with a regional focus on Latin America. His research draws on evidence from Brazil to explore how popular participation shapes the local policymaking process in developing countries...
Read More


Upcoming Events

Featured Event

Mark Your Calendars
Muhammad Yunus

Global Citizenship for Human Development: A Conversation with Muhammad Yunus

Thursday, April 12, 2018
Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus, the recipient of the 2017–18 Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity, is an economist, social entrepreneur, and Nobel Laureate, heralded around the world as a pioneer of microfinance. More recently, he has become known for his efforts to harness capitalism as a force for good that promotes equitable human development and global sustainability...
Read More

Raymond C. Offenheiser ‘71

Ray Offenheiser is the inaugural director of the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development and distinguished professor of the practice in the Keough School of Global Affairs, where he serves also on the Keough School’s Leadership Council...
Read More


March 21
Kellogg International Scholars Program Meeting
Undergraduate Programs



March 23
Deadline: Undergraduate Mentoring Award Nominations
Deadlines, Undergraduate Programs
March 23 to March 24
Romero Days 2018 - Memorializing Martyrdom: Romero's Beatification and Our Task Today
Rev. Robert Pelton, CSC , Peter J. Casarella, Douglass Cassel, David M. Lantigua, Sean O’Brien