This Concept Brief addresses three questions. How is the concept of the ‘political settlement’ best understood? Why is it important? And what policy implications follow from it?
Political settlements can be viewed as the informal and formal processes, agreements, and practices in a society that help consolidate politics, rather than violence, as a means for dealing with disagreements about interests, ideas and the distribution and use of power.
Political settlements evolve; they can include, but are not limited to, specific agreements like peace deals. They include negotiations between leaders and followers, not just among elites. And they can be sub-national or sectoral as well as national.
Analysing political settlements supports a more detailed understanding of how the interests, ideas and relations of power among leaders, elites and coalitions can assist or obstruct the process of positive change.