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GPS 6020 - Political Economy (Casas)

Resources for political economic analysis (PAE) assigned by Dr. Casas.

Political Economic Analysis

You will write a 15-20 page political economic analysis of an issue of your choice (preferably an issue you are really interested in exploring).

By the end of this semester, you will be introduced to the concepts and tools necessary to conduct a political economy analysis (PAE) and you will conduct a PAE on an issue of your choice. PAE is concerned with the interaction of political and economic processes in a society. This includes the ways in which power and wealth are distributed between groups and individuals, and the processes that create, sustain and transform these relationships over time (see OECD-DAC definition).

PAE is an integrated approach to program, policy and issue analysis. In class, we will read various approaches to PAE. You can model the approach that makes most sense with your chosen topic.

You should include at least 8 sources for your paper (mainly peer-reviewed though if you are dealing with a very current policy or issue, I understand that you might rely on news articles from reputable periodicals).

The idea is that you choose a topic that is of interest to you (and that you might continue to explore in other graduate classes). However, if you are having trouble, you might consider analyzing one of the fields of policy covered in our Bowman book which addresses health policy; pension policy; family policy; the labor market; corporate governance and finance. Other policies you might consider are (this list is not exhaustive): cap and trade policies (or another set of environmental, agricultural or development policy – fracking regulations; clean water, micro-credit lending programs, agricultural subsidies, land tenure systems—public lands and resources; wildlife; common land policies; etc.). You do not necessarily have to explore a particular policy or set of policies. You might, for example, do a political economic analysis of a social problem or of a particular program.

Below is an example of one particular approach. We will learn of others largely used in the development field. Some general considerations in any approach are (not necessarily in this order):

  1. What: the identification of the key issue or problem
  2. Why:What is the context? What are the structural factors that are contributing to the problem? What are the institutional factors (for example – organizational dynamics or ideologies of family, gender relations, economy, education. etc.)
  3. Where:Does geography impact relationships (see 4) and power?
  4. Who: Who are the stakeholders (individuals, groups and organizations)? What are the relationships? Who has greater power? Who is impacted? Who isn’t? Who benefits from the status quo (are there particular incentives)? Who loses?You might consider an integrated cost-benefit type analysis (of course one that is not just about the money)
  5. When:is there a particular time frame?
  6. What can be done?
Problem Driven Framework for Political Economic Analysis