Practice guide: A Combined Approach to Political Economy and Power Analysis

Published on 1 January 2013

The purpose of political economy and power analyses is to explain power relations and political dynamics in the formulation, adoption and implementation of development initiatives. Despite having different backgrounds and methodologies, both frameworks share the common objective of unpacking the visible, invisible and hidden relationships between key actors involved in producing (or blocking) meaningful changes.

The practice paper offers a simple step by step guide to help development practitioners identify the critical actors and institutions needed to facilitate or block new policies:

  • A stakeholder analysis to understand the motivations, interests and strategies of key development actors
  • An understanding of the formal rules and informal practices that shape their behaviour
  • An analysis of the formal and informal mechanisms they use to ensure cooperation over time.
  • A discussion of the theories of change involved and the existing or alternative narratives justifying development interventions.

This practice guide uses several examples and testimonies from SDC project assessments, as well as experiences obtained from practical PEPA workshops.


Jethro Pettit

Emeritus Fellow


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