From political economy analysis to doing development differently: a learning experience

Research reports and studies
January 2016
Under what conditions does an understanding of political economy strengthen aid-supported development efforts?

This paper sheds light on this question by reflecting on the experience and engagements of a small team of policy researchers in the Politics and Governance Programme of the Overseas Development Institute, using adaptive approaches to development.

Since 2009, the work of this group has been focused on supporting the movement towards politically smarter development assistance. Three particular areas of work are considered in the paper: problem-focused political economy studies; training in applied political economy analysis for development agency staff; and direct engagement with donor operations.

The paper assesses the gains to be had from moving from broad-brush country analysis to more problem-driven approaches and recounts lessons learned from development agencies trying to embed political economy analysis into their work.