4. Noteworthy Case Studies

There is an increasing number of political economy studies as they become a more common feature of development assistance, but most are not publicly available. We have provided below a list of publicly available political economy studies for a variety of different sectors and topics in a range of countries.

4.1 Country/donor relationships

For country level political economy studies, many of DFID’s original Drivers of Change studies from the early 2000s can be found on the GSDRC website. They offer useful overviews, including of longer term, structural factors that shape power relations and how pro-poor reforms might be feasible.

4.3 Energy

This study explores how it has been possible to establish EDZ’s functional, but problematic, service provision within the complex sectarian political context of Lebanon. We draw existing development and political economy literature to understand the rents and types of corruption in the sector and how the changes implemented by EDZ have been consistent with the nature of Lebanon’s political settlement.

4.5 Health

Bridges, K. and Woolcock, M. (2019) Implementing Adaptive Approaches in Real World Scenarios: A Nigeria Case Study, with Lessons for Theory and Practice, World Bank.

This note summarises the main points arising from a discussion in the TWP community on health systems resilience, particularly in Cameroon, Nepal, and South Africa, and highlights important policy issues and recommendations. 

This brief summarises how the Abt Associates Governance and Development Practice (GDP) has applied Political Economy Approaches (PEA) to education and health sector programming in 13 countries in Asia, the Pacific and Africa; and the key findings from these undertakings.

​​​​​​​4.5 Education

Nash, Tyrrel and Teskey (2020) ABT briefing note, Applying Political Economy Thinking to Sector Programming, Abt Associates, covers both health and education.

This paper contrasts the ways in which an adaptive component of a major health care project was implemented in three program and three matched comparison states in Nigeria. It argues that adaptive programmes need to be grounded in a fit-for-purpose theory of change and evaluation strategy.

4.7 Climate change
4.9 Democracy, human rights, voice and accountability

Booth and Chambers (2014) The SAVI programme in Nigeria: towards politically smart, locally led development, Overseas Development Institute.

Green and Guijt (2019) Adaptive Programming in Fragile, Conflict and Violence-Affected Settings, What Works and Under What Conditions?: The Case of Institutions for Inclusive Development, Tanzania, Institute for Development Studies.


This paper looks at adaptive management in DFID-funded Institutions for Inclusive Development (I4ID) project in Tanzania. It looks at the dynamic interaction between three elements: delivery, programming, and governance.  

This paper looks at adaptive management in DFID-funded State Accountability and Voice (SAVI) programme in Nigeria. It discusses how to find a ‘good fit’ with country context, and employ a ‘politically smart’, problem-driven, adaptive, locally led approach.

4.10 Public-sector reform

Laure-Hélène Piron, TPP Director, as part of the Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), has co-authored this flagship report analysing 20 years of governance programmes in Nigeria funded by the British Government.

This research identifies the contextual factors and causal mechanisms that explain how UK governance interventions contributed to improving governance, health and education outcomes by influencing the ‘service delivery chain’ that connects the Nigerian federal, state and local governments to frontline service providers (e.g. primary schools, local health facilities) and to users of health and education services.