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Kelsall T. (2016) Thinking and Working with Political Settlements, Briefing Paper. London: Overseas Development Institute.

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This paper aims to give advice to development practitioners about how to use a political settlements approach (PSA) as a diagnostic tool, bearing in mind that PSA has potential to provide if not a road map then some compass bearings for policy. It recommends practitioners assess the general political settlement in a country in relation to three broad dimensions (exclusivity/inclusivity, elite cooperation based on common purpose/spoils; bureaucracy governed by impersonal norms/patron-client relations). The diagnostic exercise is meant to give practitioners an initial sense of where it would be smart to invest their money. However, regarding detailed programming, the paper stresses that a rough PS diagnostic is not a substitute for either detailed country knowledge of the ability to plan flexibly and design adaptively in light of changing situations and evidence-based feedback.