Mind the gaps: What’s missing in political economy analysis and why it matters – Hudson and Marquette (2015)


Hudson and Marquette argue that it has been challenging to demonstrate the impact political economy analysis has had on development due to four key gaps that undermine the practicality of using the approach in practice. These gaps are: (1) conceptual, (2) operational, (3) evidential, and (4) organisational. Firstly, the authors illustrate how conceptual gaps exist within political economy analysis tools and studies. Specifically, they highlight how tools underplay the role of power and its complexity. Secondly, this paper recognises a gap between political economy analysis and frontline working, programming and implementing, and explores how it is not used in everyday practice. Thirdly, Hudson and Marquette explore the evidence base for the impact politics is said to have on aid. Finally, the authors emphasise the gap between the desire to design and implement politically informed programmes and the support that is provided to them from their organisations. Through their analysis of these four gaps, the authors make suggestions for how to overcome each one, which should have important implications for using political economy analysis in practice.