East African prospects: an update on the political economy of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda

David Booth, Brian Cooksey, Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, Karuti Kanyinga

Under what conditions are equity- and productivity-enhancing reforms likely to prosper in sectors of the East African economy? How likely is it that these conditions will be present in the next decade? What specific features of the current political-economic situation are most relevant from the perspective of practical organisations committed to supporting progressive changes? ...» more

Taxation, Redistribution and the Social Contract in Brazil

Marcus Melo, Armando Barrientos, André Coelho

This paper examines the political and political economy factors explaining Brazil’s success in raising tax revenue and assesses its contribution to a Brazilian ‘Development Model’. The recent rise in tax/GDP ratio in Brazil raises several intriguing questions. First, there is substantive macroeconomic and fiscal policy continuity since the mid-1990s, with fiscal stability ...» more

In search of the game changers: rethinking social accountability

Fletcher Tembo, Jenny Chapman

This paper speaks to a number of current debates regarding the effectiveness of accountability programmes. Drawing on lessons from the five-year Mwananchi social accountability programme, the authors argue for greater innovation and flexibility from donors, and analyse the need to identify and support project interlocutors with the power to really 'change the game'. This paper ...» more

Services in the city: governance and political economy in urban service delivery

Harry Jones, Clare Cummings, Hamish Nixon

How good is service delivery in urban areas? This discussion paper reviews literature on the political economy of four key urban services: solid waste management, water supply, transport, and urban health services. The four sector reviews demonstrate the importance of governance factors – partly rooted in physical, economic, social and political differences between rural and ...» more

The political economy of economic growth in India, 1993-2013

Kunal Sen, Sabyasachi Kar, Jagadish Sahu

What are the causes of India's economic growth? This paper from the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre examines the political economy causes of India’s growth. It reviews the acceleration in the early 1990s, the periods of high growth in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the subsequent slowdown since 2011. It argues that India’s post-reform growth ...» more

Using Action Research and Learning for Politically Informed Programming

Michael O'Keefe et al.

This Research Paper outlines preliminary findings about how action research can help build more politically informed development programs. It discusses action research being undertaken by the Pacific Leadership Program, the Coalitions for Change program in the Philippines, and DLP. This approach combines theory and practice to support development practitioners to think and ...» more

Political economy analysis

Dhaka steamers (Bangladesh)

Political economy analysis (PEA) aims to situate development interventions within an understanding of the prevailing political and economic processes in society – specifically, the incentives, relationships, and distribution and contestation of power between different groups and individuals. Such an analysis can support more politically feasible and therefore more effective ...» more

Politically Smart, Locally Led Development

David Booth, Sue Unsworth

This report highlights evidence that donors can work politically, and that this improves outcomes. It examines seven cases, and finds that keys to success included iterative problem-solving and brokering relationships to discover common interests. The paper argues that donors need to be politically informed and astute to assess the scope for change, and to make good choices ...» more

Elite Attitudes Towards Cash Transfers and the Poor in Malawi

Chipiliro Kalebe-Nyamongo, Heather Marquette

This paper argues that the planning of cash transfer (CT) programmes needs to involve more consideration of the country-specific attitudes of elites. It is members of a country’s elites who are often expected to implement – and in the long term, allocate domestic funding to – such programmes. The paper presents findings from primary research in Malawi that examined elites’ ...» more

Security and Justice: Towards Politically Informed Programming

Shivit Bakrania

There is a consensus amongst academics and practitioners that security and justice are intrinsically political. When providing assistance in this sector, donors are engaging with the fundamentally political nature of the state. This paper therefore explores what the literature tells us about the following questions: How do politics and power intersect with the provision of ...» more

Donors Doing Political Economy Analysis™: From Process to Product (and Back Again?)

Jonathan Fisher, Heather Marquette

This paper argues that the process of political economy analysis (PEA) is not fundamentally flawed and indeed agrees with PEA advocates that success in future development programmes requires a wholesale re-thinking of the relationship between politics and international development. However, the paper argues that PEA has today become a tool or product ‘sold’ to donors and ...» more

From Political Economy to Political Analysis

David Hudson, Adrian Leftwich

This paper argues that existing political economy approaches lack the analytical tools needed to grasp the inner politics of development. Political economy has come to be seen narrowly as the economics of politics – the way incentives shape behaviour. Much recent political economy work therefore misses what is distinctively political about politics – power, interests, agency, ...» more

A Dynamic Mapping of the Political Settlement in Ghana

Franklin Oduro, Mohammed Awal, Maxwell Agyei Ashon

Ghana displays a number of features of democratic institutionalisation and is considered a success story of democratic transformation in Africa. This paper examines the quality of Ghana’s political transformation and the nature of its institutions. It seeks to identify the driving power relations and ‘ideas’ which are shaping Ghana’s political and economic development. This ...» more

Politics, informality and clientelism – exploring a pro-poor urban politics

Diana Mitlin

This paper explores what has been learnt about how to instigate, negotiate or otherwise secure pro-poor government in towns and cities of the global South. With competition for scarce resources, the processes of urban development, and specifically the acquisition of land and basic services, are intensely political. While the nature of urban poverty differs, there is a ...» more

Rethinking spatial inequalities in development: The primacy of politics and power relations

Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai

This paper offers a political explanation to the problem of spatial inequality in developing countries, paying particular attention to the implications of patronage politics and inter-elite power relations for the spatial distribution of public goods. It argues that prospects for overcoming spatial inequalities in the clientelist-driven political environments of developing ...» more

Key actors, dynamics and issues of Libyan political economy

The scene of actors in Libya is highly fragmented, localised and fluid. The main division seems to have been between forces that support continued changes (‘pro-revolution’) and others that do not (‘anti-revolution’). Community actors: - Geographic communities. Beyond differences between Cyrenaica, Tripolitana and Fezzan, local communities have been the fundamental actors. ...» more

Undercurrents of Violence: Why Sierra Leone’s Political Settlement is not Working

Jeremy Allouche

Sierra Leone’s current political settlement is highly influenced by the externally imposed peace agreement that ended the civil war in 2001. Prior to this, there had been several unsuccessful attempts at establishing a new political settlement between the country’s various elites. Following the attacks by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) soldiers on UN peacekeeping forces in ...» more

New thinking on governance issues

There is a wide and diverse literature on political economy, public administration, public financial management, procurement, and social accountability. This literature search is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive, but instead a rapid review that looks to identify literature that provides novel approaches or insights, as well as notable literature that provides a good ...» more

Political economy of Libya after the Qadhafi regime

Libya lacks a stable, unified and inclusive state. Qadhafi wielded oil-funded patronage and repression to weaken the state and any social counterweight to his power. The predominant social and political dynamic is fragmentation based on multiple interests, identities and loyalties. The major ones are cities, regions, tribes (including factions and families), political ...» more

Gender in Political Economy Analysis

An initial review of the literature indicates that gender is not systematically included in PEA. This was also conveyed by a number of experts consulted for this report, who stated that few if any PEAs to their knowledge had included a gender analysis, with the issue usually treated only in passing. The report nevertheless highlights the existing examples of gender-oriented ...» more