We are a network of experienced development professionals who all take a political economy perspective to development. Our Directors, Principals and Associates have specialist knowledge of particular countries and sectors. They have strong connections to government, the private sector, civil society, media and research organisations. They bring to bear their own long working experience within official agencies, academia and the private sector.
The Policy Practice applies a political economy approach to supporting positive change in developing countries. We undertake strategic and policy work in developing countries, including political economy analysis, programme designs, reviews, and evaluations. We also run a flagship training course on political economy analysis and provide bespoke training for a wide variety of clients.
Political Economy Analysis training for the Climate Compatible Growth programme
TPP Director Neil McCulloch, and Principals Sam Bickersteth and Samantha Wade delivered a two-day training course for the Climate Compatible Growth programme at Homerton College in Cambridge in late March.
The bespoke learning event was designed for CCG researchers to gain a better understanding of PEA and how it might help participants to identify the challenges arising from political economy features of the contexts in which they work, and to draw well-grounded conclusions for research, policy, strategy or programme design and implementation.
Webinar on Neil McCulloch's new book - "Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: the politics of saving the planet"
Neil McCulloch has kindly agreed to give a presentation of the main ideas in his new book "Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: the politics of saving the planet" on Wednesday 12 April from 2pm-3.30pm BST (GMT+1). Dr. Mashekwa Maboshe, a researcher at the University of Zambia, has kindly agreed to provide some initial short comments, after which the floor will be open for questions and discussion. Please register by clicking below and we will send you the zoom invite.
New FCDO Political Economy Analysis Guidance published
Laure-Hélène Piron and Alina Rocha Menocal contributed to this Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) guide on applied political economy analysis (PEA) which updates the UK Department for International Development's 2009 original guidance.
This guide provides an overview of PEA and explains how analytical work should be planned and completed. It also provides an introduction to techniques and concepts used by FCDO governance experts, when designing and implementing related UK aid programming. It aims to inform development professionals, and it summarises different approaches, from very light-touch to more in-depth.
Podcast: Ending Fossil Fuels Subsidies - the politics of saving the planet
In this episode of the IDS Between the Lines podcast, IDS Fellow Lars Otto Naess interviews Dr Neil McCulloch about his new book: Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: The politics of saving the planet.
ICAI democracy and human rights review
The UK Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) has published its review of UK aid's approach to democracy and human rights. TPP Director, Laure-Hélène Piron, was the team leader.
The review found that the UK’s democracy and human rights work has delivered useful results, often in difficult political contexts, but has been significantly affected by budget reductions since 2020 and the lack of a strategic framework. While it awarded an overall green/amber score, it found that future results were in doubt and that the UK no longer has the ability to respond to new challenges and deliver on the UK government’s high policy ambitions in this area.
Blog: Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies – the politics of saving the planet
Hands up if you would like petrol prices to go up? I’m guessing not too many hands. The cripplingly high costs of energy (both fuel, whether petrol, diesel, gas or coal as well as electricity) have posed a huge challenge for households and firms all around the world. Massive increases in these costs, driven by the weaponization of energy by Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have plunged some households into poverty – forcing them to choose between heating and eating. Businesses have laid off workers and scaled back activities because of the crippling price rises.
Read the full blog from Dr. Neil McCulloch on Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: the politics of saving the planet
Book: Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies – the politics of saving the planet
TPP Director, Neil McCulloch, has just launched a book on “Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies – the politics of saving the planet”, published by Practical Action Publishing. The book explains what fossil fuel subsidies are, how they inflict harm and what steps are being taken to reduce them. It also shows why subsidies persist and why existing efforts have been so ineffective. Drawing lessons from countries which have tried to remove fossil fuel subsidies, it explains that the fundamental challenge to reform is not technical, but political. The book lays out a new agenda for action on fossil fuel subsidies, showing how a better understanding of the underlying political incentives can lead to more effective approaches to tackling this major global problem.
See this link for a video of author Neil McCulloch introducing his book in a lecture at IDS.
COP27 makes some progress but political alignment is inadequate
In this second blog, Sam Bickersteth, climate change expert at The Policy Practice, reflects on what has been achieved at the 27th UN conference on climate change, and the political economy barriers to saving our planet by reducing emissions.
Keeping our attention on climate change – listening to the COP27 Hubbub
The annual UN conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention has kicked off in Egypt and it is getting attention like never before. When the UN Secretary General tells us that we are close to irreversible tipping points and “climate hell” then we should be sitting up and listening.
But what can we hear through the hubbub of statements from Heads of State, multiple side events, news reports and pre COP blogs? What will hold our attention and that of our leaders preoccupied with recession, food and energy price hikes, the war in Ukraine and the impending northern hemisphere winter?
Read the first blog by TPP Principal, Sam Bickersteth.
The Policy Practice is assisting the World Bank Governance Practice pilot a training course to support the roll-out of its new GovEnable approach between January and June 2023.
TPP Associate Anna Paterson is co-leading an evaluation of Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises, an internationally known humanitarian health research programme established in 2013 to generate evidence on recognised public health challenges in humanitarian crises and promote its use.
Gareth Williams, TPP Director, is supporting FHI360 to conduct political economy analysis for the Jigerduu Jarandar project, a five year civil society support programme (2019-2024) in Kyrgyzstan funded by USAID. His work has so far focused on protecting civic space and supporting policy engagement in gender based violence.
The Policy Practice is a lead provider of training on applied political economy analysis for development practitioners.
Political economy analysis provides a deeper understanding of the contexts in which development happens – whether international, national, sectoral or local. It explores how structural factors, institutions and incentives of the key actors shape the possibilities for change in any given context – and how development partners can influence this.
Our course is designed to equip advisers and programme managers to identify the main political and institutional challenges and opportunities in the contexts in which they work, and to draw well-grounded conclusions for strategy, programme design and approaches to implementation.
We have run our flagship course for development professionals over 45 times since 2008, training over 2,000 professionals. We also offer tailored courses and bespoke advice to organisations that wish to deepen their capacity to undertake political economy analysis or manage their programmes more adaptively. Course participants come from bilateral and multilateral organisations, such as the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the US Agency for International Development, the Netherlands Foreign Ministry, Irish Aid, the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, or the United Nations Development Programme. Our clients also include research centres, non-governmental organisations and private companies, such as the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Save The Children, Saferworld, DAI, Palladium or Chemonics.
Political economy analysis in action online training course
Our popular online Political Economy Analysis in Action training course kicked off on 20th February. We hope to run this course again in September, so if you would like to be put on our waiting list, please fill in the form here and we will be in contact with you once we have finalised the dates.
Participants on this current interactive 17-week online course:
- Learn what political economy analysis is and why it matters
- Explore political economy concepts and how to use them
- Interact with leading experts on political economy analysis and thinking and working politically on a weekly basis
- Work through real-life case studies applying political economy tools to development challenges
- Participate in regular webinars with other course participants
- Learn how to ‘think and work politically’ in their own work
- Participants work both independently and in small groups to complete weekly tasks
See our course flyer for further information on the course, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.