Political Economy

This theme explores the organization of economic activity in rural and urban settings at the macro-, meso- and micro-scales of analysis. APPRO views the political economy as a product of the interactions between various economic actors with vested interests constrained or enabled by different contextual factors. Effecting change in the political economy thus requires in-depth understanding of the physical and material conditions, demographic features, and the manner in which policy decisions are made. To date, APPRO has carried out a number of research projects on informal labor markets, business climate, micro enterprises, urban economic development, service provision in urban areas, rural economic development, migration and economic development, climate change and rural food security, domestic and international trade, women in business, corruption, and value chain analysis of agricultural products.

The scale of analysis ranges from organizational, e.g., enterprise production, to sub-national, national, and international. At all scales of analysis a value chain approach is adopted to map and analyze processes in their entirety to establish where efficiencies can be incorporated into the system, how equity in production and resource use can be increased, and how adverse environmental and social impacts can be eliminated, minimized or managed. To date APPRO has applied this approach to examining the impact of climate change on agricultural production, gender and agricultural production, micro foundations of value chains, realignment of domestic products’ markets, and the agricultural innovation systems of selected products. These studies have focused on the innovative capacity, coping strategies, and system resiliencies and potential for expansion and growth. See Publications for sample reports.