Pathways to Development: From Politics to Power

Pathways to Development: From Politics to Power

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This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-BC-ND 4.0 International License. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations.

The puzzle of why some countries are wealthier and more developed than others continues to confound students and practitioners of development alike. Whereas earlier grand explanations focused on issues of ’geography’ or ’institutions’, the second decade of the 21st century finally saw ’politics’ arrive centre-stage within international development. This catalyzed a search to answer the key question: under what conditions do governments become committed to and capable of delivering development? How can these processes be conceptualized and researched? And what (if anything) can be done to ’get the politics right’ for development?

Pathways to Development draws on a major comparative research effort to present new answers to the question of how politics shapes development. It develops and applies a ’power domains’ framework across multiple countries in the global South to uncover the political drivers of development across a wide range of policy areas, including economic growth, gender equity, health, and education. Hickey and Sen find that a country’s pathway to development is shaped less by institutional type than by the nature of the politics and power relations that underpinned these institutions and which shape how they actually function in practice within different policy domains.

Comparative analysis reveals two alternative pathways to developmental outcomes, each of which is specific to particular configurations of power. The first involves a dominant ruling coalition with a strong developmental vision that faces an existential threat from social forces; the second involves competitive settlements within which the short-term vision of ruling elites and the politicization of the public bureaucracy are offset by the presence of strong and coherent coalitions within particular policy domains. Hickey and Sen use these insights to generate innovative, practical suggestions for policy actors seeking to promote inclusive development that are aligned to critical differences in political context.



Kunal Sen, Director, UNU-WIDER, Samuel Hickey, Professor of Politics and Development, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

Kunal Sen is the Director of UNU-WIDER, and Professor of Development Economics at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester. He is a leading international expert on the political economy of growth and development. He has performed extensive research on international finance, the political economy determinants of inclusive growth, the dynamics of poverty, social exclusion, female labour force participation, and the informal sector in developing economies. His research has focused on India, East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. He has been the Joint Research Director of the Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) research centre, and a Research Fellow at IZA.

Sam Hickey is Professor of Politics and Development at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester. As Research Director of the Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) research centre (2011-2020), he worked with many colleagues on the links between politics and development, with particular reference to state capacity, natural resource governance, social protection, education, and gender equity. He is currently Deputy CEO for the African Cities Research Consortium at the University of Manchester and President of the Development Studies Association (2020-2023).



  • ISBN:9780198872566
  • 規格:精裝 / 208頁 / 普通級 / 初版
  • 出版地:美國




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