From Political Economy to Political Analysis - Hudson and Leftwich (2014)


This paper argues that existing political economy approaches lack the analytical tools needed to grasp the inner politics of development. Hudson and Leftwich advocate a move from political economy analysis (PEA) to “political analysis.” Through a review of different, overlapping phases of PEA, they argue that the current consensus approach is overly focused on understanding how political and institutional contexts shape the behaviour of political actors to produce positive or negative development outcomes. To contrast this approach, the authors present a framework for pursing “political analysis”. The framework involves a four-step process, which begins with structural analysis, then moves to institutional analysis, then stakeholder analysis and ends with political analysis. In other words, after ensuring an understanding of the context and key actors, the question of what political options are available for reaching specific outcomes can be asked. This paper aims to give “policy makers and practitioners more precise conceptual tools to help them interpret the inner, ‘micro’, politics of the contexts in which they work”. In particular, Hudson and Leftwich argue for more focus on recognising and working with the different forms of power, interests and ideas.