Executive Summary - Political Settlements and the Politics of Inclusion

This paper explores what political settlements are and why they are now at the centre of donor efforts to foster more peaceful and effective states and societies. Analysing available research, the paper finds that, at least in the short to medium term, more inclusive political settlements at the elite level are crucial to avoid the recurrence of violent conflict, and to lay the foundations for more peaceful political processes. The literature also suggests that, over the long term, states and societies underpinned by more open and more broadly inclusive institutions are more resilient and better at promoting sustained and broadly shared prosperity.

However, there is a big gap between these two findings: further research and learning are needed on how a political settlement with a narrow focus on elite inclusion can be transformed into a more broadly inclusive political order. The paper highlights insights from the literature that could help develop a more incremental approach to promoting inclusion.

Download this two-page summary (PDF, 160 KB), or see the full paper (PDF, 600 KB).

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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