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Political Settlements: Issues paper

Di John, Jonathan and Putzel, James (2009) Political Settlements: Issues paper. Discussion Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution .


URL of Published Version: http://www.gsdrc.org/docs/open/EIRS7.pdf


Why do similar sets of formal institutions often have such divergent outcomes? An analysis of political settlements goes some way to answering this question by bringing into focus the contending interests that exist within any state, which constrain and facilitate institutional and developmental change. It provides a framework to analyse how the state is linked to society and what lies behind the formal representation of politics in a state.

The political settlement and the elite bargains from which it emerges are central to patterns of state fragility and resilience. The role of political organisation within the political settlement is crucial to both the stability of the settlement and the direction in which it evolves over time. The elite bargains that may lead to the establishment of what might be considered a resilient political settlement may also act as a barrier to progressive developmental change.

Analysis of political settlements suggests that state-building is far from a set of technical formulas, but is a highly political process. Creating capacity within a state to consolidate and expand taxation is fundamentally determined by the shape of the political settlement underlying the state. This is true as well for the development of service delivery or any other function of the state. This analytical framework provides a window for donors to grasp the politics of a place in order to design more effective interventions.

Type of Work:Monograph (Discussion Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Number of Pages:29
Department:International Development Department

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Date:June 2009
Projects:Governance and Social Development Resource Centre
Series/Collection Name:GSDRC Emerging Issues Papers
Keywords:politics, political settlement, social contract, international development, political economy
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Related URLs:
Funders:UK Department for International Development (DFID)
Copyright Status:Copyright 2009 University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:University of Birmingham
ID Code:645

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