This paper investigates whether the use of participatory budgeting in Brazilian municipalities during 1990–2004 affected the pattern of municipal expenditures and had any impact on living conditions. It shows that municipalities using participatory budgeting favored an allocation of public expenditures that closely matched popular preferences and channeled a larger fraction of their budgets to investments in sanitation and health services. This change is accompanied by a reduction in infant mortality rates. This suggests that promoting a more direct interaction between service users and elected officials in budgetary policy can affect both how local resources are spent and living standard outcomes.Source: Sónia Gonçalves (World Development, March 2013). A draft (2009) is here.