©2018 by Alex Martins.

Research Project

Addressing power imbalances between the Global South and North: A Political Economy Analysis

Addressing power imbalances


The future of international development relies upon forging genuine and equitable partnerships between the Global South and North. In a nutshell, how we do development is just as important as what we do. This independent research project seeks to gather data from both Southern and Northern perspectives to foster open, honest dialogue and to identify avenues for change in this arena.

Research questions

  • What are the key barriers to creating a more equitable international development system at the structural, institutional and behavioural levels?

  • Are there existing entry-points and windows of opportunities for addressing deeply entrenched power imbalances between the Global South and North? If so, how can they be accessed and capitalised upon?


  • This project will be driven by in-depth semi-structured interviews with practitioners, policymakers, academics, researchers, journalists, business people, and others.

  • I will begin by using snowballing sampling techniques, asking each respondent to recommend others to interview. As the process continues, I will introduce purposive sampling to ensure balanced representation between South and North, and between different types of actors.

  • Adopting an inductive rather than a deductive approach, I will use the data and insights emerging from these interviews to begin to formulate hypotheses in response to the research questions.

Outputs and dissemination

  • I will publish interim findings on this website in the form of short blog posts. I also plan to run a series called Name & Praise (rather than the usual naming and shaming), which will highlight best practice examples of genuine, equitable partnership between the South and North.

  • I will also create an open-source database that synthesises key insights from respondents (anonymised, and with consent).

  • The research will culminate in a long-form publication, such as an in-depth report or, subject to funding, a book.


  • I expect the project to take place over the duration of 2018, with interim findings and insights published monthly.

If you would like to be interviewed, or recommend someone else for an interview, or if you have any feedback to share on the research outline, please email me at am@alexmartinsdev.com. I look forward to hearing from you.