Rethinking the Politics of Development in Africa? How the 'Political Settlement' Shapes Resource Allocation in Ghana

ESID Working Paper No 38

26 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014 Last revised: 29 Apr 2016

See all articles by Abdul‐Gafaru Abdulai

Abdul‐Gafaru Abdulai

University of Ghana - Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management; University of Manchester - School of Environment, Education and Development

Sam Hickey

University of Manchester

Date Written: September 30, 2014

Abstract

Debates over whether democratic or neopatrimonial forms of politics are driving the politics of development in Africa have increasingly given way to more nuanced readings which seek to capture the dynamic interplay of these forms of politics. However, most current analyses fail to identify the specific causal mechanisms through which this politics shapes the actual distribution of resources. A political settlements approach which emphasises the distribution of 'holding power' within ruling coalitions and how this shapes institutional functioning can bring greater clarity to these debates. Our analysis shows that patterns of resource allocation within Ghana’s education sector during 1993-2008 were closely shaped by the incentives and norms generated by Ghana’s competitive 'clientelistic political settlement', which overrode rhetorical concerns with national unity and inclusive development. This had particularly negative implications for the poorest Northern regions, which have lacked holding power within successive ruling coalitions.

Keywords: Politics, political settlements, resource allocation, education, Ghana

Suggested Citation

Abdulai, Abdul-Gafaru and Hickey, Sam, Rethinking the Politics of Development in Africa? How the 'Political Settlement' Shapes Resource Allocation in Ghana (September 30, 2014). ESID Working Paper No 38. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2503370

Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai

University of Ghana - Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management ( email )

Ghana

University of Manchester - School of Environment, Education and Development ( email )

Manchester
United Kingdom

Sam Hickey (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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