The Political Economy of Regional Inequality in Ghana: Do Political Settlements Matter?

17 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018

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

Date Written: February 2017

Abstract

This article argues that the concept of political settlements can deepen our understanding of the political economy drivers of spatial inequality, particularly through its focus on the distribution of power among elites and how this shapes the distribution of public resources. This approach has particular potential for understanding the politics of spatial inequalities in developing countries where inter-elite competition over scarce resources often fuels unbridled clientelism. However, a political settlements approach also suffers from significant limitations, especially its purely rational-actor interpretation of elite behaviour and its exclusive focus on national elites and domestic political processes. The article concludes that an adapted political settlements approach that explicitly recognizes the influence of transnational actors and discursive forms of politics such as ideas can greatly enhance the explanatory power of this concept. This argument is illustrated through an examination of the politics of resource distribution around the US funded Millennium Challenge Account programme in Ghana.

Keywords: political settlements, power relations, regional inequality, Millennium Challenge Account, Ghana

Suggested Citation

Abdulai, Abdul-Gafaru, The Political Economy of Regional Inequality in Ghana: Do Political Settlements Matter? (February 2017). The European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 29, Issue 1, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3160677 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ejdr.2016.11

Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (Contact Author)

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

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