We are a network of experienced development professionals who all take a political economy perspective to development. Our Directors, Principals and Associates have specialist knowledge of particular countries and sectors. They have strong connections to government, the private sector, civil society, media and research organisations. They bring to bear their own long working experience within official agencies, academia and the private sector.
The Policy Practice applies a political economy approach to supporting positive change in developing countries. We undertake strategic and policy work in developing countries, including political economy analysis, programme designs, reviews, and evaluations. We also run a flagship training course on political economy analysis and provide bespoke training for a wide variety of clients.
Financial Times article on 'how to rethink climate change'
TPP Director Neil McCulloch’s book Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: the politics of saving the planet was featured in the Financial Times (paywalled) as one of three good books on ‘How to rethink climate change’.
A Policy Brief summarising the book's main messages is available here.
New blog from Laure-Hélène Piron and Alina Rocha Menocal with Kate Byom - What does politically smart support to democracy and human rights look like?
Duncan Green has published this blog to coincide with a webinar on “Making a difference: How Applied Political Economy Analysis contributes to impact through better informed decisions” on Wednesday 24 May. It shares the findings of a Learning Review on the use of PEA in three USAID-funded human rights projects under the Human Rights Support Mechanism, which is led by Freedom House with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and Pact as core consortium partners.
GovEnable clinics in Islamabad, Kinshasa and Nairobi
During May 2023, Laure-Hélène, TPP Director, and Ben French, TPP Associate, are delivering workshops in Islamabad, Kinshasa and Nairobi to introduce government officials and World Bank staff to a new way of designing and implementing public financial management reforms - based on participatory diagnostics and action planning.
Making a difference: How Applied Political Economy Analysis contributes to impact through better informed decisions
How does Applied Political Economy Analysis (APEA) help us to inform choices about our programs, and what difference does that make to the kind of impact we hope to achieve?
This webinar was led by PACT in association with Alina Rocha Menocal and Laure-Hélène Piron from The Policy Practice who will share the findings of their learning review.
Reflections on agriculture and rural development, drawing on experiences in South Sudan in the 1970s and early 1980s
In April 2023, Alex Duncan revisited South Sudan for the first time in 40 years since working there for four years as an agricultural economist. This is a lecture he gave at Juba University on the work that was then started, the lessons learned and the implications for the present.
Webinar on Neil McCulloch's new book - "Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: the politics of saving the planet" - LISTEN NOW
Neil McCulloch gave a presentation of the main ideas in his new book "Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: the politics of saving the planet" on Wednesday 12 April from 2pm-3.30pm BST (GMT+1). Dr. Mashekwa Maboshe, a researcher at the University of Zambia, provided some initial short comments, after which the floor was open for questions and discussion. You can now listen to the recording.
Fossil fuel subsidy reform - Policy Brief 15
This policy brief from TPP Director Dr Neil McCulloch is based on his book “Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies – the politics of saving the planet”, published by Practical Action Publishing.
It summarises the problem with fossil fuel subsidies, how they inflict harm and what steps are being taken to reduce them. It also shows why subsidies persist and why existing efforts have been so ineffective. Drawing lessons from countries which have tried to remove fossil fuel subsidies, it explains that the fundamental challenge to reform is not technical, but political.
Political economy analysis for climate action training course now launched
The Policy Practice is delighted to announce a new short online course focussing on the Political Economy of Climate Action. This course explains how political economy analysis can be used to understand the challenge of action on climate change and to design more effective interventions. The course will consist of seven, 2-hour online sessions from 5 June to 28 June. For more information and to register please click below
New FCDO Political Economy Analysis Guidance published
Laure-Hélène Piron and Alina Rocha Menocal contributed to this Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) guide on applied political economy analysis (PEA) which updates the UK Department for International Development's 2009 original guidance.
This guide provides an overview of PEA and explains how analytical work should be planned and completed. It also provides an introduction to techniques and concepts used by FCDO governance experts, when designing and implementing related UK aid programming. It aims to inform development professionals, and it summarises different approaches, from very light-touch to more in-depth.
Laure-Hélène Piron, TPP Director, is undertaking a study for the OECD DAC Governance Network on donor assistance to public interest media, and the integrity of information ecosystems. It will contribute to formulate updated operational guidelines and interventions strategies for international assistance.
TPP Director, Dr. Neil McCulloch, and TPP Associate, Dr. Mashekwa Maboshe, undertook a study of the political economy of fuel supply in Zambia for the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Board.
Southern Perspectives on international assistance to democracy and human rights: Is donor support fit for purpose?
Democracy and human rights have been under increased pressure globally. The Varieties of Democracy Institute’s latest report has found that advances in democracy over the last 35 years have been wiped out, and that 72% of the world’s population live in autocracies in 2022. In this challenging context, international development agencies have been adjusting how they support democracy and rights objectives. This webinar aimed to flip the global conversation.
TPP Director Neil McCulloch, and Principals Sam Bickersteth and Samantha Wade delivered a two-day training course for the Climate Compatible Growth programme researchers to gain a better understanding of political economy analysis.
Laure-Hélène Piron delivered an introductory training for the British Embassy in Brasilia based on the new FCDO Understanding political economy analysis and thinking and working politically guidance which she co-authored.
The Policy Practice is assisting the World Bank Governance Practice pilot a training course and design clinics to support the roll-out of its new GovEnable approach between January and July 2023.
Between January 2023 and the end of March 2023, TPP Director Neil McCulloch and TPP Principal Sam Bickersteth worked on a series of three rapid, Political Economy Analyses of the energy transition for the FCDO-funded Climate Compatible Growth programme in Ghana, Zambia and Vietnam.
TPP Associate Anna Paterson is co-leading an evaluation of Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises, an internationally known humanitarian health research programme established in 2013 to generate evidence on recognised public health challenges in humanitarian crises and promote its use.
Gareth Williams, TPP Director, is supporting FHI360 to conduct political economy analysis for the Jigerduu Jarandar project, a five year civil society support programme (2019-2024) in Kyrgyzstan funded by USAID. His work has so far focused on protecting civic space and supporting policy engagement in gender based violence.
The Policy Practice is a lead provider of training on applied political economy analysis for development practitioners.
Political economy analysis provides a deeper understanding of the contexts in which development happens – whether international, national, sectoral or local. It explores how structural factors, institutions and incentives of the key actors shape the possibilities for change in any given context – and how development partners can influence this.
Our course is designed to equip advisers and programme managers to identify the main political and institutional challenges and opportunities in the contexts in which they work, and to draw well-grounded conclusions for strategy, programme design and approaches to implementation.
We have run our flagship course for development professionals over 45 times since 2008, training over 2,000 professionals. We also offer tailored courses and bespoke advice to organisations that wish to deepen their capacity to undertake political economy analysis or manage their programmes more adaptively. Course participants come from bilateral and multilateral organisations, such as the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the US Agency for International Development, the Netherlands Foreign Ministry, Irish Aid, the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, or the United Nations Development Programme. Our clients also include research centres, non-governmental organisations and private companies, such as the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Save The Children, Saferworld, DAI, Palladium or Chemonics.
Political economy analysis in action online training course
We are pleased to announce the launch of our next Political Economy Analysis in Action training course starting 4th September 2023. If you would like to apply for the course, please complete this form here and we will be in contact with you with further details.
Participants on this interactive 19-week online course:
- Learn what political economy analysis is and why it matters
- Explore political economy concepts and how to use them
- Interact with leading experts on political economy analysis and thinking and working politically on a weekly basis
- Work through real-life case studies applying political economy tools to development challenges
- Participate in regular webinars with other course participants
- Learn how to ‘think and work politically’ in their own work
- Participants work both independently and in small groups to complete weekly tasks
See our course flyer for further information on the course, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.