News archive

Online course: Political Economy Analysis in Action – opportunity to apply for September to December 2018


Our next Political Economy Analysis in Action course will run from 10 September to 11 December 2018. Please apply for a place before the end of August 2018 to The course tutors will again be David Booth (ODI) and Alex Duncan (The Policy Practice). Please see here for more detail and here for an application form.

Literature review of the Political Economy of Energy Access, Andrew Barnett, Neil McCulloch and Davida Wood. DRAFT FOR PEER REVIEW, June 2018, 55 pages


This is a review of literature to illustrate how issues of energy access and power sector reform have been addressed in the political economy literature and to identify lessons on how to reach energy access goals more effectively.

People who would like to review this draft should request a copy from the lead author,, giving their name, institution and email address.

Political Economy Analysis of the Business Environment

(12/05/2018)  Reforming the business environment needs to be understood not only as a technical challenge but, as importantly, as a challenge to the political economy. This Policy Brief, based on an analysis by The Policy Practice for the UK's cross-government Prosperity Fund, reviews experience in 11 middle income countries and identifies key issues, common themes and unanswered questions. Download here

Political economy analysis 10 years on

(22/05/2017)  Reflecting on the major shifts in the development context over the last decade, this latest policy brief discusses how the agenda has changed since The Policy Practice wrote its original briefs on the political economy of development. Download our latest policy brief here.

Political Economy of Africa’s Power Sector

(2/06/2016)  This policy brief examines what we mean by political economy, how it influences performance in the African power sector, and what guidance political economy analysis can give in the design of interventions aimed at improving that performance.Download here.

Sue Unsworth

(18/03/2016)  It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Sue Unsworth. Sue has been a terrific colleague for the past decade, always stimulating and always challenging in the best way, with her incisive mind. She has led the development within the Policy Practice of a lot of our best thinking.

Sue’s legacy in being the person who initially brought political economy into DFID's way of thinking about international development, and helping to make it more realistic and less prone to the sort of wishful thinking that she had little time for, is clear to see. Her approach is now embedded pretty thoroughly. And though she started with DFID, her influence can also been seen across many if not most of the official development agencies worldwide.

Managing Developmental Civil Society Organizations

(12/11/2015)  Richard Holloway's new book provides practical tools, advice and personal experience on working with civil society organisations. Further details can be found here.

Monitoring and learning in politically smart, adaptive programmes

(27/03/2015)  Read the summary of this workshop convened by The Policy Practice and theIDLGroup in December 2014. Download here.

Donor approaches to managing risk in fragile states

(18/12/2014)  Gareth Williams' and Adam Burke's work on donor approaches to managing risk in fragile states has been published by OECD. Download here.

Political considerations relevant to Energy and Economic Growth

(18/12/2014)  This paper provides an initial review of the literature on the political economy of energy in Africa. Download here.

Politically smart, locally led development

(14/03/2014)  Once policy makers accept that development is a political process, primarily locally-driven, how should this affect the way they work? Download the report on the joint Policy Practice-IDL Group workshop here

Extractive Industries Governance Assessment

(2/11/2013)  William Kingsmill has developed an analytical framework for the World Bank Institute.Download here

Myanmar and foreign aid

(2/11/2013)  Recent changes, risk and opportunity. Read Adam Burke's policy brief here.

Strengthening Debt Management in Nigeria

(16/09/2013)  Alex Duncan led this recent review of the UK partnership with Nigeria on debt management. Download his report here.

Political Economy of Renewable Energy

(28/09/2012)  Read Adam Burke's policy brief written for UNDP here.

Looking for next steps in governance reform

(22/02/2012)  How can policymakers better identify important, context specific constraints to development, and appropriate "next steps" to address them? Read the writeup to an informal workshop hosted by The Policy Practice here.

International Drivers of Corruption

(20/02/2012)  The Policy Practice and theIDLgroup drafted this recently published OECD report. Download here.

Civil Society in the Age of Crisis

(23/01/2012)  Read John Clark's paper published in the Journal of Civil Society here.

EU Energy and Development Policy

(30/11/2011)  Read Andrew Barnett's comment on the new EU Green Paper on development and its treatment of energy policy here.

Is BHP Billiton’s Cluster-Programme in Chile relevant for Africa’s mining industry?

(2/11/2011)  A new Policy Practice Brief by Andrew Barnett and Martin Bell (download).

New EC Background Paper on Political Economy Analysis

(2/11/2011)  Sue Unsworth and Gareth Williams are the lead authors of this new EC background paper and analytical tools (download here).

Political Economy of Disaster Risk Reduction

(13/05/2011)  Gareth William's paper has been published as a background paper to the Global Assessment report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2011 (download).

What makes a Good Governance Indicator?

(17/01/2011)  Read our Policy Brief.

Using political economy analysis to make development assistance more effective

(1/07/2010)  Alex Duncan delivered this presentation to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace / USAID / DAI workshop.