From political economy to political analysis

Political economy has come to be seen narrowly as the economics of politics – the way incentives shape behaviour. This study argues that existing political economy approaches lack the analytical tools needed to grasp the inner politics of development. This means that much recent political economy work misses what is distinctively political about politics – power, interests, agency, ideas, the subtleties of building and sustaining coalitions, and the role of contingency.

The study aims to give policy makers and practitioners more precise conceptual tools to help them interpret the inner ‘micro-politics’ of the contexts in which they work. 

It argues in particular for more focus on recognising and working with the different forms of power, on understanding how and where interests develop, and on the role of ideas in inspiring or inhibiting political action. 

Researchers: David Hudson and Adrian Leftwich  

See also David Hudson's blog post: Political analysis as the practical art of the possible (Jul 2014).

For further work on this area, see Everyday political analysis.

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About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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News

Doing Development Differently workshop - Jakarta 2017

Thursday 30th March 2017

Putting the concept of Thinking and Working Politically into practice was at the heart of a workshop on 15-16 March attended by more than 200 delegates from the field of international development. Delegates from the government, civil service and local organisations of the host country, Indonesia, were joined by academics, including DLP researchers, and staff from donor organisations and NGOs.

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DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day

Monday 27th March 2017

DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.

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