Resources and accumulation: the politics of economic growth
This programme identifies the political drivers of growth and capitalist development, with a particular focus on:
- the inclusion of marginal groups in processes of job-creation
- the exploitation and governance of natural resources.
Broad-based economic growth is important for achieving inclusive development. It may provide material benefits for the majority of the population (including those living in poverty), and also allow governments in developing countries to mount tax-financed social provision programmes for people living in poverty. Patterns of economic growth also matter for inclusive development. We examine the political determinants of inclusive growth processes that lead to the creation of productive jobs among people in poverty, including women and socially disadvantaged groups.
Surprisingly little is known about the dynamics of growth within countries: why it accelerates and decelerates, what political drivers sustain it, and how policymakers can ensure that its benefits are shared inclusively by all. ESID researchers are analysing transitions between crisis, stagnation, stable growth and miracle growth. Through cases in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana and Uganda, we are investigating the politics of growth dynamics, testing such factors as political settlements, state capacity, elite commitment or state-business relations.
The politics of natural resources is the second major focus of ESID research on inclusive economic growth. Natural resource discoveries in African countries create new possibilities for inclusive growth strategies. But they may also exacerbate rent-seeking and predatory politics, and undermine the prospect for more labour-intensive growth to emerge.
One of our projects is revisiting the notion of the ‘resource curse’ through the lens of political settlements. It is comparing the evolution of oil governance in Ghana and Uganda, to see how far they will succeed in mobilising these resources for development that combines growth and inclusion.
Another project is a comparative analysis of natural resource governance in Latin American and African countries, investigating the impact of ideology, political settlement, and sequencing dynamics on taxation, corporate social responsibility, and accountability mechanisms.
Some of the questions we are asking:
- What determines elite commitment to inclusive economic growth?
- How do state capacity and elite commitment matter in determining the inclusivity of growth processes that lead to the creation of productive jobs (and decent work) among people living in poverty, including women and socially disadvantaged groups?
- How important are regional or local-level political settlements in explaining differences in economic growth across regions within countries?
- What do new hydro-carbon finds in Africa imply for the evolution of political settlements and inclusive development, and what comparative lessons can be drawn from Latin America?