The Concept of Political Settlement in Development Policy, and Why it’s Useful | Political Settlement: Part 1

SSGM In Brief

Author/s (editor/s):

Sue Ingram

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In Brief

The ‘political settlement’ concept has been around for a long time, but like any smart virus it has morphed along the way to suit its various hosts. It appeared first and has its widest currency in the international relations and peace literature, where it describes a negotiated settlement to conflict which spells out how power is to be distributed and managed in the post-conflict state.1 Its next relevant incarnation, for the purposes of this paper, was in the mid-1990s in the writing of Mushtaq Khan, who used the concept to challenge the explanations offered by new institutional economics for state failure in developing countries (Khan 1995). Don’t just focus on the institutions, he argues, but look to the political settlement.

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