7.1.3 Behaviour and perceptions

While being a less tangible objective than changing policies or organizational structures, any finance solution’s success must be anchored in wide support and belief among core stakeholders. To measure perceptions around finance solutions, two major tools are available:


Perception surveys are increasingly used to collect baseline information for policy reforms. They can gauge existing views on a finance solution before starting any work, and flag any concerns. Results demonstrate to what extent key (groups of ) stakeholders understand and support the concept. Effective perception surveys inform the activities and advocacy strategy for the solution. The OECD provides detailed guidance on the design and application of perception surveys.2

Box 7.1: Six Steps in Designing a Perception Survey According to the OECD

Define survey objectives and target group
  • Define the objectives
  • Define the final use of the results
  • Ensure a perception survey is the adequate tool
  • Define target groups
Draft survey questions
  • Set up discussion with members of a target group to identify key issues
  • Translate those into questions and answer categories
  • Draft simple and clearer questions
  • Keep the questionnaire short to maximize response rate and concentration
  • Ensure respondents have the opportunity to report problems
Pilot and readjust the questionnaire
  • Test the survey on a smaller target group to identify weakness in the survey design
  • Possibly ask volunteers to think aloud while answering questions and analyse what motivated their answers
  • Adjust the questionnaire if needed
Select respondents and the data collection method
  • Select a sample by random sampling or other methods
  • Ensure that the sample size allows for a valid conclusion from the results
  • Choose the data collection method: personal interviews, telephone interviews, internet surveys, email surveys, etc.
  • Maximize response rate through appropriate data collection method
Run the survey
  • Ensure high response rate through follow-up emails, to avoid biased conclusions
  • Use trained interviewers to avoid unintentional influence on responses
Analyse the results
  • Interpret results as perceptions rather than facts
  • Take into account the response rate. A low rate means that no general conclusions can be drawn
  • Take into consideration the number and the way respondents have been selected in the result analysis
  • Understand how results were reached as this is essential to draw policy conclusions
  • Attach documentation regarding Steps 1-6 to results and interpret results in combination with other data sources

Political Economy Analysis (PEA) stems from the challenges of addressing development issues with strong technical approaches and repeatedly seeing these approaches fail. We now know that additional elements must be considered in planning and development investment. The World Bank’s problem-driven PEA model is presented below (Box 7.2). It shows that in addition to exploring the technical and economic feasibility of an approach, we should also explore three levels of the political economy:

1structural factors, 2institutions, and 3stakeholder interests, constellations and power.

Box 7.2: Political Economy Analysis Explained Further

Although a problem-focused PEA is appropriate for specific biodiversity trends, a PEA can also be implemented for a specific sector or finance solution. Below are some sample questions for conducting a PEA.

Roles and responsibilities

Who are the key stakeholders? What are the formal/informal roles and mandates of different players? What is the balance between central/local authorities in provision of services?

Ownership structure and financing

What is the balance between public and private ownership? What are financing arrangements (e.g. public/private partnerships, user fees, taxes, donor support)?

Power relations

To what extent is power vested in the hands of specific individuals/groups? How do different interest groups outside government (e.g. private sector, NGOs, consumer groups, the media) seek to influence policy?

Corruption and rent-seeking

Is there significant corruption and rent-seeking? Where is this most prevalent (e.g. at point of delivery, procurement, allocation of jobs)? Who benefits most from this? How is patronage being used?

Service delivery

Who are the primary beneficiaries of service delivery? Are social, regional or ethnic groups included/excluded? Are subsidies provided, and which groups benefit most from these?

Ideologies and values

What are the dominant ideologies and values which shape views? To what extent may these serve to constrain change?


How are decisions made within the sector? Who is party to these decision-making processes?

Implementation issues

Once made, are decisions implemented? Where are the key bottlenecks in the system? Is failure to implement due to lack of capacity or other political/economic reasons?

Potential for reform

Who are likely to be the “winners” and “losers” from particular reforms? Are there any key reform champions within the sector? Who is likely to resist reforms and why? Are there “second best” reforms which might overcome this opposition?

Numerous resources are available online for PEA. The GSDRC Topic Guide is one good starting point.