Political economy

Political economy refers to the interplay between political actors, institutions, and economic factors. Understanding the political economy is crucial because the incentives and motivations of political actors can significantly shape the decisions made about national M&E systems.

For example, if the original idea for implementing an M&E system came from the executive branch, it might be more aligned with the government's policy objectives. On the other hand, if it originated from congress or another institution, the M&E system might have different priorities or face different challenges in implementation.

While the structure of the government outlines formal relationships and roles, the political economy delves deeper into the underlying incentives and motivations of various actors involved in the M&E system. This understanding is key to comprehending why certain decisions are made and how they affect the effectiveness and focus of the M&E system.


In the case of Mexico, understanding the political situation of both the executive and congress helped to move the M&E system forward. It was not until 1997 that there was a balance of power between the executive and congress, at which point congress decided to approve laws for transparency and evaluation. So any further improvement of the M&E framework will need to consider the Mexican congress. This is not the case in other countries.

In South Africa, presentations to parliamentary portfolio committees are preceded by presentations to the ruling party caucus on the committee. This is informal but standard practice. This means that any findings or key measures relating to M&E that the central M&E champion or line ministries want to make public are presented to party structures first. It is essential therefore to understand the party dynamics and not just the formal government arrangements.

India launched an Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) in 2014. The idea was to have a more independent institutional mechanism to conduct the evaluation process in central government. The IEO did not last long due to the imbalance of power between the Office of the Prime Minister and the IEO, together with the fact that in the same year, the government changed. However, the new Indian government launched the Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), as part of NITI Aayog, a public policy think tank of the Government of India and the body that has been responsible for building an important evaluation system in India since 2015.


Global Evaluation Initiative (2022). MESA Guidance Note: Diagnostic Tool for a Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.globalevaluationinitiative.org/mesa

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