Keywords: Local governance; Participation; Policy change; Urban policies; Institutionalization.
Many contributions in the social sciences have focused their attention on the influence of participatory processes on public policy at local level. Many different variables have been proposed to explain the transformative potential of participation. However, it has been stressed how many of the empirical studies that have been carried out within this field are threatened by the difficulty to operate a counterfactual analysis. This article tries to face this critical point using the analytical tools offered by public policy analysis to study policy change. In this work three European major cities are taken into account to analyse the participatory processes enacted by their local governments. Making reference to the Advocacy Coalition Framework, this research takes depart from the hypothesis that participatory processes' influence on public policy can be increased by a coalition opportunity structure represented by a high degree of institutionalisation of participatory practices themselves, and by the mobilization of advocacy coalitions' resources within participatory arenas.