1) How long have you been involved with PSIAs, the PSIA MDTF, and have things improved over the years?
PSIA has been part of my work since 2002 when the Bank started developing the PSIA methodology through pilots with DFID and the IMF, and the PSIA User’s Guide. In Middle East and Northern Africa (MNA), I have administered the MDTF with PREM colleagues at that time. I have worked on several PSIAs in various sectors (e.g. water, sanitation, urban, agriculture, etc) in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, MNA, and we realized that the original User’s Guide did not fully account for the political economy that affects the decision-making on reforms. Hence, in 2007, the Sourcebook “Tools for Institutional, Political and Social Analysis in Policy reform (TIPS) ” was developed, and in 2008 the framework for “Political Economy of Policy Reform (PE) ” was produced. With this further guidance, PSIAs have become more pragmatic and comprehensive to analyze the various factors that affect sector reforms.
2) 2) Are PSIAs relevant to the new World Bank Group? What role can it play with the new twin goals?
Through the TIPS and PE, PSIA identifies reform impacts through six aspects, i.e. regarding access, employment, prices, taxes/transfers, assets, and authority. This disaggregated analysis identifies the opportunities to designing interventions that contribute towards ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
3) 3) What are the top three reasons you would recommend a PSIA to a TTL?
a) a) PSIA with the political economy angle provides a comprehensive analysis of policy reforms and their impacts - both within and beyond the sector - and highlights cross-cutting issues that can support or hamper a sector reform, such as e.g. decentralization, governance or conflict, etc.;
b) b) PSIA with PE, when conducted in a pragmatic way, can be very useful to inform operational design;
c) c) PSIA with PE, when conducted with the client, can generate reform ownership and support sustainability of reform investments.
4) 4) You have worked on PSIAs projects before, so from a technical perspective, what is exciting about the PSIA approach and what are the main challenges?
What is exciting is that PSIA is a flexible tool, as it can be tailored to the country and reform context, (ii) policy dialogue and/or operations, (iii) in-depth analysis or on-demand advice to the client, etc. What is challenging is to (a) conduct a meaningful PSIA that informs operations, given that preparation budgets and timeframes are being shortened, and (b) get the PSIA process right to ensure client ownership on two fronts – the PSIA as a knowledge product and the PSIA as an input to operational design. Client ownership is essential to ensure PSIA recommendations are actually implemented through operations, and operational investments are sustainable.
Sabine Beddies is a Senior Urban Specialist in the Global Practice for Social, Urban Rural and Resilience in the Middle East and North Africa Region. She was part of the team which initially developed the PSIA approach back in 2002, and the framework for political economy in policy reforms in 2008. She has applied the PSIA approach to numerous sectors and countries – analyzing the political economy of reform in the water sector in Yemen, Palestine, Albania, and Montenegro; in the sanitation sector in Brazil, Senegal, Indonesia and India; in the education sector in Tajikistan; in the agricultural sector in Tanzania; on municipal service reform in Macedonia; and on local taxation in Tanzania; with the cross-cutting themes of decentralization, governance and conflict. Prior to her current assignment, she worked in the Bank’s former social development network, as well as for UNDP in Albania and the EU in Tanzania. Sabine holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics focusing on inclusive cities and governance.