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Yen-Ting Hsu

Yen-Ting Hsu
  • 9500 Gilman Dr
    Mail Code: 0533
    La Jolla , California 92093

Curriculum Vitae

MA: Columbia University, Sociology, 2016

BBA: National Taiwan University, International Business, 2013

Research Interests: Political Sociology, Participatory Democracy, Culture, Community, Urban Politics


Yen-Ting Hsu is a Ph.D. student in sociology who studies democratic innovations at the local level. In the recent wave of participatory enthusiasm, participatory budgeting (PB) has become one of the most widely celebrated participatory practices for urban governance. While existing literature dominantly analyzes PB as a product of policy diffusion, Hsu’s research shows that PB could be adopted independently as a bargaining tool for more taxes and trust. To make this argument, he analyzes two participatory democratic initiatives launched by California bankrupt cities of Vallejo and Stockton in 2012-13. Drawing on policy documents and key informant interviews, he shows that Stockton developed a participatory initiative similar to Vallejo’s Brazilian-inspired PB program even without exposure to existing PB experiences. Stockton’s local officials were motivated to democratize public finance as a means to exchange for voters’ support for tax increases.

In addition to his academic training, Hsu served as a PB practitioner in Taichung, Taiwan and designed several civic forums on Taiwan’s community empowerment policy in 2016-17. He co-founded Taiwan Reach-Out Association for Democracy in 2017, a nonprofit consulting organization specializing in public participation design and dedicating itself to social innovation and democratic deepening. He also served as a program commissioner for North American Taiwan Studies Association to plan its annual conference in 2019-20.