This paper provides a framework for classifying and analyzing participatory institutions in Latin America. It argues that participatory institutions are best categorized according to the following dimensions: the governmental level at which they are implemented (municipal, state/provincial/regional or national levels), whether the decisions they take are binding or consultative, whether participation is open to all citizens or restricted to a subset of the community, and finally the extent to which the institution is implemented across a given country. After providing a critical overview of existing attempts to conceptualize participatory institutions and offering a new, alternative framework, it offers an overview of participatory institutions in Latin America. Finally, it uses this framework to take a closer look at the empirical range of one critical participatory institution, binding participatory institutions. The framework developed in the paper can be of use to scholars of participatory institutions who strive both for greater precision in the identification of the causes and effects of different types of participatory institutions, as well as those who seek to better understand the conditions under which participatory institutions meaningfully impact political and social outcomes. It can also be useful for empirical work on deliberative democracy, which has struggled to demonstrate the broader political impact of deliberative democratic innovations such as mini-publics.