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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New findings on education and developmental leadership in the Philippines

Thursday 15th September 2016

New research from DLP and the University of Glasgow explores the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development in the Philippines. See the policy brief, podcast and paper.

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Political settlements in Africa

Thursday 7th July 2016

Political settlements in Africa, the politics of inclusion and the role of international actors were the focus of the most recent BISA Africa Working Group workshop, convened by DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera at the University of Birmingham.

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