Political economy analysis (PEA) has emerged as a valuable approach for assessing context and the local systems where international development actors seek to intervene. PEA approaches and tools have grown and adapted over the last 40 years through innovations by donor agencies and practitioners. Our analysis of nine PEAs reveals the following findings: PEAs can make positive contributions to technical interventions; engaging project staff in PEAs increases the likelihood that they will be open to a thinking and working politically mindset and approach; inclusion of gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) in PEAs helps to uncover and address hidden power dynamics; and explicitly connecting PEA findings to project implementation facilitates adaptive management. Implementation lessons learned include careful consideration of logistics, timing, and team members. Our experience and research suggest applied PEAs provide valuable evidence for strengthening evidence-based, adaptive, international development programming. The findings highlight the promise of PEA as well as the need for ongoing learning and research to address continued challenges.
Thinking and working politically
By Lisa McGregor, Sarah Frazer, Derick W. Brinkerhoff.
April 2020 Open Access Peer Reviewed
© 2021 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
McGregor, L., Frazer, S., & Brinkerhoff, D. W. (2020). Thinking and working politically: Lessons from diverse and inclusive applied political economy analysis. RTI Press. RTI Press Publication No. RR-0038-2004 https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2020.rr.0038.2004