Researching the politics of development

It’s clear that politics matters to how countries develop. But there is little consensus about what this actually means. For a decade we’ve researched how politics shapes development across a range of settings and sectors, and what this means for politics and social justice.


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How politics matters to inclusive development


One size does not fit all when it comes to development. It’s critical to appreciate the interplay between ‘Context’, ‘Capacity’ and ‘Coalitions’ to get a clear picture of why and how development progresses in different ways in different places.

These are the Three Cs of Inclusive Development


How is a country's political power arranged?


Can the state deliver?


How do state and non-state actors overcome constraints together?
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How the politics of development plays out in different areas


We are interested in how politics affects different areas of development activity and reform, aiming to understand how to achieve inclusive development in different contexts. development that leaves no person or groups behind.


How to work politically for inclusive development


Given what we know about how politics matters in development, we’ve developed 4 guiding principles. These are intended for anyone in development – from academics to policymakers – to work in a way that acknowledges the politics of development.

Principles for working politically for inclusive development:

Move from avoiding politics

Working differently within different power systems


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Move from imposing best practice

Working with coalitions to identify best-fit solutions


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Move from assuming political elites are driven only by incentives

Recognising that ideas matter


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Move from fixating on good governance

Acknowledging the importance of state capacity


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