Bringing the economy back in: The political economy of security sector reform

Guro Lien


The mechanisms underlying the relation between development and security are difficult to define and poorly understood. This has not hindered various donor countries, NGOs, or international organizations from designing and implementing Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiatives with the presumption that increasing security, usually by strengthening state capacity, will lead to increased socioeconomic development. However, in many postwar settings, low state capacity is seen as a desired outcome. The argument in this article is that an exclusive focus on formal state structures in SSR efforts makes several assumption that reduce the possibility of success. There is no "one size fits all" approach to statebuilding, and designing SSR activities without taking into account the premises of the local economic structures may only lead to short-term regime security.


Security sector reform

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