Rethinking elite commitment to social protection in Ghana: Insights from an adapted political settlements approach

This paper explores the political economy drivers of Ghana’s flagship cash transfer programme, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP). In contrast to existing accounts of the LEAP as a domestically driven cash transfer scheme, the evidence here shows that donor pressures, leveraged through financing, played a more prominent role than the paradigmatic ideas of domestic political elites in shaping the adoption of the LEAP. These findings suggest that an adapted political settlements framework that goes beyond domestic political calculus, and which explicitly incorporates the influence of ideational and transnational factors, can greatly improve our understanding of the political economy drivers of social protection in Africa.