Political Settlements, Institutions and Organizations: a new dialectics of development
25 November 2016
UAntwerpen - Stadscampus - Building C - Room C204 - Prinsstraat 13 - 2000 Antwerpen (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Organization / co-organization:
Guest Seminar by Prof Mushtaq Husain Khan (SOAS, University of London)
Institutional analysis with its roots in the work of Douglass North and others has convincingly argued that the ‘rules of the game’ have important implications for the choices made by individuals and organizations and therefore for economic outcomes. However, while the importance of institutions is in some ways obvious and the evidence is clear that (in some sense) institutions matter, economists do not agree about which institutions matter and how much. One reason for this is that very different institutions appear to have been important for the growth and transformation of different countries. Moreover, institutions that worked in one context appear to have failed in others.
The political settlements framework argues that the operation of institutions cannot be understood outside the context of the organizations subject to these institutions. Institutions (as rules) are only partly enforced by state organizations. Much of enforcement depends on the interests and capabilities of other organizations and how they interact with each other and with the state. The political settlements framework describes the distribution of power across organizations and argues this is a critical variable determining the operation of institutions, the feasibility of different development strategies in different contexts and the ‘dialectics’ through which structure (institutions) and agency (organizations) interact to drive progressive or regressive developments.
The different paths of evolution of the political settlement can therefore help to explain why the institutions that were critical for the growth and development of a China or a Taiwan appear to be quite different from the ones that were effective in the United States or England at an earlier time. Moreover, the types of institutions that worked in East Asia, such as industrial policy institutions promoting technology acquisition and productivity growth, appear to have badly failed in many other developing countries where infant industries often failed to grow up. In more recent times, countries like India and Vietnam are developing with a variety of institutions, opening up a new series of challenges for institutional analysis, and for global and national policy-makers.
The political settlements analysis provides a framework for locating these problems drawing on insights from other disciplinary frameworks to enrich our understanding of how the distribution of organizational power evolves across countries.
The talk will draw on my work on technology policy, democratization, property rights reform, patron-client networks, anti-corruption strategies and other areas where I have developed my understanding of political settlements.
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