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

New article: A typology of interaction between politicians and bureaucrats

Tuesday 14th March 2017

DLP Research Fellow Niheer Dasandi has co-authored a new article on how bureaucrats and politicians interact, and how this affects reform efforts. It appears in 'Public Administration and Development'.

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Power and systems, and their role in developmental change: Guest seminar with Duncan Green

Tuesday 21st February 2017

Seeing power and complex social systems clearly is the first step towards supporting positive developmental change, says Oxfam Strategic Director and DLP research partner Duncan Green. He discussed the themes of his latest book at a recent International Development Department guest seminar at the University of Birmingham.

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