'Empowered patient' or 'Doctor knows best'? Political economy analysis and ownership

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Efforts to incorporate ‘political thinking’ into policy-making and practice in OECD-DAC development agencies have increasingly focused on the use of ‘political economy analysis’ (PEA) frameworks and “tools”. While recognizing the fundamental value of promoting politically-informed programming, this article nevertheless highlights how contemporary efforts to this end have largely ignored another central development agenda: the ownership paradigm. Emphasizing the highly donor-centric nature of PEA design and methodology we explore critiques and justifications of this state of affairs, ultimately arguing that donors would benefit from embracing a more flexible and context-specific understanding of ownership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-126
JournalDevelopment in Practice
Issue number1
Early online date15 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Aid – Aid effectiveness
  • Development policies
  • Civil society – Participation
  • Governance and public policy
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


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