The politics of development under competitive clientelism: Insights from Ghana's education sector

Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, Sam Hickey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Debates over whether democracy or political clientelism are driving the politics of development in Africa have increasingly given way to more nuanced readings which seek to capture the dynamic interplay of these forms of politics. However, most current analyses struggle to identify the specific causal mechanisms through which politics shapes the actual distribution of resources. A political settlements approach which emphasises the distribution of ‘holding power’ within ruling coalitions and how this shapes institutional functioning can bring greater clarity to these debates. Our analysis shows that patterns of resource allocation within Ghana’s education sector during 1992-2008 were closely shaped by the incentives generated by Ghana’s competitive ‘clientelistic political settlement’, which overrode rhetorical concerns with national unity and inclusive development. This had particularly negative implications for the poorest Northern regions, which have lacked holding power within successive ruling coalitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-72
JournalAfrican Affairs
Volume115
Issue number458
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Ghana, education, politics, inequality.

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute

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