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Join the Debate: Using Political Economy Analysis to Improve EU Development Effectiveness

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7 October 2011

The authors of a background note, ‘Using Political Economy Analysis to Improve European Union Development Effectiveness’,  are posting a draft version of their findings in The Political Economy in Practice working group and invite interested capacity4dev members to offer their feedback. The discussion begins on the 10th October.

Volunteer workshop

In preparation for the new Project and Programme Cycle Management (PPCM) guidelines, EuropeAid Unit B1, Quality of Delivery Systems, is working on a background note on the use of political economy analysis.

The background note is set to provide a basis for practical guidance on how to conduct political economy analysis at country and sector level, and how this can be used to improve EU development effectiveness across a range of tasks including programming, design and implementation of specific interventions, risk management and policy dialogue. 

The draft version of this background note will be posted on under the Political Economy in Practice working group. The authors seek to involve group members in a participatory process to discuss the background note, obtain feedback, and explore its practical implications prior to submitting it to EuropeAid management.

An overview of the sections of the paper are offered below and a pdf version is available for download here. The full draft of the background document can also be downloaded as a pdf, here.

Interested members are invited to join the online discussion which will take place over a three week period beginning on the 10th October. All you have to do is become a member of the Political Economy in Practice group and you’ll be able to take part in engaging discussions brought to life using case study materials and contributions from invited resource people.  Exchanges are intended to be informal, and to include a variety of formats including blog entries, comments, posted articles and features, recorded interviews and presentations.

The discussion is mainly for EC staff, but outside participants are also welcome to join.  If you would like to participate and are not yet a member of the Political Economy in Practice Working Group you can request membership by following this link and clicking on the green ‘Request Membership’ button.

The discussion has been organised by EuropeAid B1 and will be monitored with support from Gareth Williams and Sue Unsworth, experts who have drafted the background note.


Using Political Economy Analysis to Improve EU Development Effectiveness

1.1  Overview of the sections

Section 1 Introduction.

Section 2 explains the key concepts underpinning political economy analysis. This theoretical perspective matters because the most important contribution that political economy analysis can make to increasing aid effectiveness is to help donors think more clearly about how development happens, and about the local processes with which they are engaging when they give development assistance.

Section 3 explains why political economy analysis is needed and how it poses new challenges and opportunities for development practice.

Section 4 looks at how to draw on analysis in making operational choices at country and sector level, based on the practical experience of EU Delegations and other donors; and how it can help inform risk assessment and policy dialogue.

Section 5 explains the range of political economy analysis tools available, and introduces two approaches that can be used to undertake analysis at country and sector level. Detailed guidance is given in the annexes.

Section 6 covers practical aspects of undertaking political economy analysis including timing, resource requirements, sources and research methods and advice on managing the process. It also suggests next steps needed to build ownership for political economy analysis within the Commission.


DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interests of knowledge sharing and capacity development and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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