Thinking and Working Politically: Lessons from Diverse and Inclusive Applied Political Economy Analysis - McGregor, Frazer and Brinkerhoff (2021)


This paper provides an analysis of RTI's experience of conducting applied political economy analysis (PEA). The paper's analysis of nine PEAs in Haiti, Nigeria, The Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia reveals the following findings: PEAs can make positive contributions to technical interventions; engaging project staff in PEAs increases the likelihood that they will be open to a thinking and working politically mindset and approach; inclusion of gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) in PEAs helps to uncover and address hidden power dynamics; and explicitly connecting PEA findings to project implementation facilitates adaptive management. Implementation lessons learned from RTI’s experience include careful consideration of logistics, timing, and team members. RTI's experience and research suggest applied PEAs provide valuable evidence for strengthening evidence-based, adaptive, international development programming. The findings highlight the promise of PEA as well as the need for ongoing learning and research to address continued challenges.