Recent moves towards “participatory” budgeting have raised hopes and expectations that spending and revenue generation can be made more pro-poor if informed citizens and their non-traditional political organisations participate directly in budgeting decisions. This article reviews experiences of participatory budgeting and pro-poor policy-making in Brazil, Ireland, Chile, Mauritius, and Costa Rica. It draws attention to several important issues: Who participates? What kind of institutional framework is necessary? What happened to the revenue-generation side of pro-poor budgeting? It points out that making spending and taxation more “pro-poor” has historially depended on pro-poor political parties gaining power.