Political Economy Team - Adoption

How can we understand the political and social conditions that have been (or could be) fostered to align a system for learning?

Why Political Economy?

Over the past decades, most governments around the world have massively expanded schooling, creating an unprecedented increase in access to education. At the same time, learning levels have not improved significantly. The political economy approach suggests that there are political dynamics both supporting and hampering successful education reform and a sustained improvement of learning.

The RISE Political Economy Team – Adoption (PET-A) focuses on the political, social, institutional, and historical environment in which education systems are embedded. It aims to gain a more holistic understanding of the political drivers and inhibitors of progress in learning outcomes and to understand how to tackle the ‘wicked problems’ in the politics of learning.

Researchers and institutions

The principal research institution for PET-A is the University of Pennsylvania, with research lead Alec Gershberg.

Research agenda

PET-A is concerned with issues of adoption, producing research on the politics of learning, meaning how political conditions are fostered to put learning at the centre of education systems. A central research question for this team is: Why do some countries adopt and successfully implement policies that improve learning, while most do not? This requires a deeper understanding of the underlying power relations among a broad range of interest groups – and the priorities, incentives, and decisions of politicians, governments, and policymakers.

Based on a set of Guiding Principles, PET-A is collaborating with all seven RISE Country Research Teams to produce country-specific political economy deep dives. It is also carrying out five additional country case studies in non-RISE countries, namely Chile, Egypt, Kenya, Peru, and South Africa. Ultimately, PET-A will undertake comparative analysis across the 12 country cases to synthesise findings.