Political settlements, the mining industry and corporate social responsibility in developing countries

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Abstract

In this paper I take a ‘political settlements’ approach to examining the political effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in developing countries. The political settlements approach uses an integrated understanding of politics, power and institutional forms to explain how, given different political processes and incentives, the same institutional forms can produce different economic and developmental outcomes. I apply this lens to the CSR practices of large mining companies in developing countries, examining their impacts on local and national political settlements using the Zambian metals mining sector as a case study. Directly, CSR features little in the national debate on natural resource governance in Zambia but local CSR activity is considerable. I find that the CSR practices of large metals mining companies influence the governance of extraction and the possibility of inclusive development with notable consequences for institutions of traditional leadership. The resulting pattern of inclusion and development is argued to result from the interaction of two processes - elite bargaining and coalitions within exclusionary political settlements on the one hand, and CSR practices shaped by risk management on the other. I conclude by arguing that political settlements literature offers a rich seam for future research in the extractive sector if its limitations are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Volume6
Issue number1
Early online date12 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Development
  • Mining
  • Political settlements
  • Zambia

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute

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