New Issue of Developing Alternatives Explores the Power of Political Economy Analysis

October 06, 2012

Development practitioners ignore governance at their peril. This admonition is the main takeaway of the latest issue of DAI’s journal Developing Alternatives, which examines the theme of political economy analysis (PEA) and its application to development policy and practice.

Edited by Dr. Ann Hudock, Political Considerations: Political Economy Analysis and the Practice of Development explores how political economy approaches shed light on the challenges of programming across all development sectors, starting from an understanding of the political context and finding ways to bridge the state-society divide.

“Even with the best of intentions, development workers often get it wrong,” writes Hudock in her introduction to the volume. “In a rush to build the capacity of formal institutions recognized as legitimate—since they are based on familiar Western models—the powerful ways that citizens are connected through informal institutions are frequently overlooked.”

At the forefront of the PEA method in the United Kingdom, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) contributed three articles to the issue, covering how to move forward in putting politics into practice; how successful economic growth programs must also tackle governance challenges; and a case study showing how critical justice programs in Sierra Leone could benefit from a deeper analysis of the on-the-ground political economy governing the options and incentives confronting Sierra Leone’s women.

Another article, co-authored by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Meral Karan-Delhaye and Georgetown University’s Matthew Kroenig, probes the connections between strong legislatures and economic growth.

Three DAI staff penned articles for Political Considerations:

  • Tine Knott, who offers ideas for how donors can apply PEA when analyzing, adapting, and developing economic reform programs.
  • Del McCluskey, who shows how using a PEA approach helped identify the best opportunities for the Government of the Philippines to improve sanitation and hygiene.
  • Hudock, who proposes four key areas of governance reform that, when taken together, could increase the success and sustainability of results-based financing arrangements.

Political Considerations will be formally launched on October 25 at ODI headquarters in London. Details on the event can be found on the ODI website.

For a print copy of the journal or to be added to the electronic or print mailing lists for this and other DAI publications fill out our sign up form.

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