Researching the politics of development



Working Paper: Spatial inequality

5 March 2014.
ESID’s latest Working Paper argues that spatial inequality in developing countries is not rooted so much in geographical features or resource endowments as it is in elite power relations and the demands of patronage politics. The paper’s author is Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, a University of Manchester PhD who is now professor at the University of Ghana Business School in Accra.
Here are some excerpts from the paper:

Mainstream accounts of spatial inequalities that put the blame on geography, institutions and market forces are at best partial: they tend to underplay the role of politics and power relations both in shaping the design and functioning of institutions, and in either reinforcing or redressing the geographical disadvantages of lagging regions.
Comprehensive policies that skew benefits towards the poorest are more likely to be implemented on a sustained basis when elites who directly represent the interest of those segments of the population have substantial influence over resource allocation decisions and policy agenda more broadly.
Strategies that aim to bridge inter-regional development gaps should therefore also consider ways to shift inter-regional power relations in favour of poorer regions

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