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Marquette H., Fisher J. (2014) Donors Doing Political Economy Analysis: From Process to Product (and Back Again?).,

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This paper argues that attempts to mainstream political thinking in most donor agencies have used a political economy analysis (PEA) approach, and yet this has been largely ineffective. It notes that, since the early 2000s, donor agencies have come up with a variety of PEA frameworks and approaches, but little has changed in terms of donor practice. The paper argues that PEA has today become a tool or product ‘sold’ to donors and ‘done’ by external consultants, and it is no longer fit for purpose. It critiques this type of ‘PEA™’, tracing its evolution from a transformative approach to policy-making to a discrete instrument that is applied to specific ‘problems’, usually by external consultants. In order to remedy the weaknesses of PEA, the paper calls for a third generation approach that would be led by donor agencies’ own staff and include recipient governments in the analysis.