Political economy is the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between economy and politics. It is both a substantive area of research and a research approach that cuts across multiple research fields. Political economy analysis is interested in broad macro-historical trends – such as state formation, economic transformation, democratisation, and social movements – as well as the structural contexts within which these processes unfold. These perspectives allow scholars to address important questions such as the causes and consequences of various developmental challenges, including poor public service delivery, inadequate infrastructure, political and economic mismanagement, among others.
Political economy research at ISSER pays particular attention to the structural constraints that shape politics, policy formulation, and development in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. Ghana’s highly competitive electoral system increases the incentive of political leaders to focus on short-term policy choices rather than long-term planning. Work at ISSER has shed light on the implications of this political economy context for policies and programmes in various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, industry, housing, education, health, energy among others. Since 2020, a series of crises originating at the global level, especially the COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian War, are further transforming the political economy context in Ghana and across Africa and will be a focus area of research among ISSER political economy scholars.