Governance and Inequality: Benchmarking and Interpreting South Africa's Evolving Political Settlement

Effective States and Inclusive Development Working Paper Series No. 51

45 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2015

See all articles by Brian Levy

Brian Levy

Independent

Alan Hirsch

University of Cape Town (UCT)

Ingrid Woolard

University of Cape Town - Faculty of Commerce - School of Economics

Date Written: August 11, 2015

Abstract

Has South Africa’s political settlement provided a constructive platform for successfully addressing the country’s deep-seated economic challenges in an inclusive way? Or is it increasingly consolidating as a settlement which is narrowly of and for elites (albeit in importantly different ways from its apartheid predecessor)? This paper addresses these questions, and reexamines the foundations of the democracy in an attempt to understand the obstacles to South Africa moving into a truly sustainable democracy. It provides a broad overview of South Africa’s evolving political settlement and the capability and commitment of the South African state (and the elites which underpin it) to deliver inclusive development. The political settlement analysis is anchored in a comparative assessment of evolving patterns of income distribution across countries and over time. The paper offers reflections on how the challenges going forward for South Africa might be addressed.

Keywords: South Africa, inequality, political settlement, inclusion, democracy, elite bargain

Suggested Citation

Levy, Brian and Hirsch, Alan and Woolard, Ingrid, Governance and Inequality: Benchmarking and Interpreting South Africa's Evolving Political Settlement (August 11, 2015). Effective States and Inclusive Development Working Paper Series No. 51 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2642326 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2642326

Alan Hirsch

University of Cape Town (UCT) ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

Ingrid Woolard

University of Cape Town - Faculty of Commerce - School of Economics ( email )

PO Box 15494
Emerald Hill 6011
South Africa

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