Today, the question is no longer just about what needs to be done to support international development, but how it should be done. Politics and institutional dynamics are, therefore, crucial. In 2015, the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) hosted a high-level workshop on political settlements for researchers, policymakers and practitioners. This blog discusses the available knowledge on the political settlements approach.
It is recognized that inclusive political settlements are influential in the relationship between state and society, and are assumed to create more resilient, peaceful and legitimate states. However, the evidence is mixed on how inclusion addresses challenges related to states and societies.
When working on the inclusivity of political settlements, it is important to consider: 1) who is included (elite bargains can be successful, depending on the persuasion of elites, while including the broader public has also proven to lead to more peaceful states), 2) what role identity and nation-building plays in creating inequalities and how that relates to governance structures (sometimes nation-building in non-democratic states can create a sense of inclusion among different groups), 3) whether inclusion takes place on the process or outcome level and what tensions and trade-offs exist between the two, and 4) how bottom-up pressures affect or shape political settlements.