The Trouble with the MDGs: Confronting Expectations of Aid and Development Success
Growing concern that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not be achieved by 2015 should not obscure the bigger picture that development progress has been occurring at unprecedented levels over the past thirty or more years. At the same time, the MDGs may perhaps create an unnecessary pessimism toward aid by labeling many development successes as failures. The first MDG of halving the number of people living in poverty will probably be met globally, but for most developing countries to achieve this at the national level, the growth rates required are at the bounds of historical precedent. Additionally, there appears to be only a weak relationship between aid and rapid economic growth. A similar problem holds for many of the other education and health goals. For many countries, the rates of progress required to meet the MDGs by 2015 are extremely high compared to historical experience and there is only a tenuous relationship between expenditure and outcomes. Nevertheless, estimates that an additional $50 billion in aid per year is necessary to meet the MDGs are frequently misinterpreted to suggest that it is also sufficient. Most of the goals are unlikely to be reached, but this will probably not be due primarily to shortfalls in aid. This is in part because development is a long-term and complex process dependent on relieving more than a supply-side constraint on resources. Aid remains vital and contributes to development progress, but even considerable increases in aid are unlikely to buy these particular goals. Goal setting is also useful, but continuing to suggest that the MDGs can be met may undermine future constituencies for aid (in donors) and reform (in recipients). The MDGs might be better viewed not as realistic targets but as reminders of the stark contrast between the world we want and the world we have, and a call to redouble our search for interventions to close the gap.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Peter S. Heller & Sanjeev Gupta, 2002. "Challenges in Expanding Development Assistance," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 02/5, International Monetary Fund.
- Kraay, Aart, 2004.
"When is growth pro-poor? Cross-country evidence,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
3225, The World Bank.
- Michael Clemens & Steven Radelet & Rikhil Bhavnani, 2004.
"Counting Chickens When They Hatch: The Short-term Effect of Aid on Growth,"
44, Center for Global Development.
- Michael A. Clemens & Steven Radelet & Rikhil Bhavnani, 2004. "Counting chickens when they hatch: The short-term effect of aid on growth," International Finance 0407010, EconWPA.
- Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "The impact of public spending on health: does money matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(10), pages 1309-1323, November.
- Gustav Ranis & Frances Stewart, 2001.
"Growth and Human Development: Comparative Latin American Experience,"
826, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
- Gustav RANIS & Frances STEWART, 2001. "Growth And Human Development: Comparative Latin American Experience," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 39(4), pages 333-365, December.
- Burnside, Craig & Dollar, David, 1997.
"Aid, policies, and growth,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
1777, The World Bank.
- Shantayanan Devarajan & William R. Easterly & Howard Pack, 2002.
"Low Investment is Not the Constraint on African Development,"
13, Center for Global Development.
- Devarajan, Shantayanan & Easterly, William R & Pack, Howard, 2003. "Low Investment Is Not the Constraint on African Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 547-71, April.
- Charles Kenny, 1999. "Why aren't countries rich?: Weak states and bad neighbourhoods," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 26-47.
- Paul Mosley & John Hudson & Arjan Verschoor, 2004. "Aid, Poverty Reduction and the 'New Conditionality'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(496), pages F217-F243, 06.
- Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Lisa CHAUVET, 1999.
"Aid and Performance: A Reassessment,"
- R. Lensink & H. White, 2001.
"Are There Negative Returns to Aid?,"
Journal of Development Studies,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6), pages 42-65.
- Simon Maxwell, 2003. "Heaven or Hubris: Reflections on the New 'New Poverty Agenda'," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21(1), pages 5-25, 01.
- Sahn, David E. & Stifel, David C., 2003. "Progress Toward the Millennium Development Goals in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 23-52, January.
- Filmer, Deon & Hammer, Jeffrey S & Pritchett, Lant H, 2000. "Weak Links in the Chain: A Diagnosis of Health Policy in Poor Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 199-224, August.
- Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2001.
"Can the World Cut Poverty in Half? How Policy Reform and Effective Aid Can Meet International Development Goals,"
Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1787-1802, November.
- Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2000. "Can the world cut poverty in half ? how policy reform and effective aid can meet international development goals," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2403, The World Bank.
- Desmond McCarthy & Holger Wolf & Yi Wu, 2000. "The Growth Costs of Malaria," NBER Working Papers 7541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- World Bank, 2004. "Strategic Framework for Assistance to Africa : IDA and the Emerging Partnership Model," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15179, August.
- William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
- Devarajan, Shantayanan & Miller, Margaret J. & Swanson, Eric V., 2002. "Goals for development : history, prospects and costs," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2819, The World Bank.
- Kenny, Charles, 2005. "Why Are We Worried About Income? Nearly Everything that Matters is Converging," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-19, January.
- Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Henrik Hansen & Finn Tarp, 2001.
"On the Empirics of Foreign Aid and Growth,"
EPRU Working Paper Series
03-13, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2003.
- Lant Pritchett, 1997.
"Divergence, Big Time,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
- Deon Filmer, 2007.
"If you build it, will they come? School availability and school enrolment in 21 poor countries,"
Journal of Development Studies,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(5), pages 901-928.
- Filmer, Deon, 2004. "If you build it, will they come? School availability and school enrollment in 21 poor countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3340, The World Bank.
- William Easterly, 2003.
"National Policies and Economic Growth: A Reappraisal,"
27, Center for Global Development.
- Easterly, William, 2005. "National Policies and Economic Growth: A Reappraisal," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 1015-1059 Elsevier.
- Michael A. Clemens, 2004.
"The Long Walk to School: International education goals in historical perspective,"
Development and Comp Systems
- Michael Clemens, 2004. "The Long Walk to School: International Education Goals in Historical Perspective," Working Papers 37, Center for Global Development.
- Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2003. "Halving Global Poverty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
- Richard A. Easterlin, 2000. "The Worldwide Standard of Living since 1800," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 7-26, Winter.
- Enrique Delamonica & Santosh Mehrotra & Jan Vandemoortele, 2001. "Is EFA Affordable? Estimating the global minimum cost of 'Education for All'," Papers inwopa01/15, Innocenti Working Papers.
- Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1996.
"Wealthier is Healthier,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 841-868.
- Pritchett, Lant H. & DEC, 1994. "Desired fertility and the impact of population policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1273, The World Bank.
- Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004.
"Worms: Education and health externalities in kenya,"
Natural Field Experiments
00288, The Field Experiments Website.
- Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2001. "Worms: Education and Health Externalities in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 8481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lucia Hanmer & Robert Lensink & Howard White, 2003. "Infant and child mortality in developing countries: Analysing the data for Robust determinants," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 101-118.
- Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002.
"Growth Is Good for the Poor,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
- Hansen, Henrik & Tarp, Finn, 2000.
"Aid and Growth Regressions,"
62288, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993.
"Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks,"
NBER Working Papers
4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
- Fay, Marianne & Leipziger, Danny & Wodon, Quentin & Yepes, Tito, 2005. "Achieving child-health-related Millennium Development Goals: The role of infrastructure," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1267-1284, August.
- Marianne Fay & Danny Leipziger & Quentin Wodon & Tito Yepes, 2003. "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals : The role of infrastructure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3163, The World Bank.
- Easterly, William, 1999. "The ghost of financing gap: testing the growth model used in the international financial institutions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 423-438, December.
- Hicks, Norman L., 1982. "Sector priorities in meeting basic needs: some statistical evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 489-499, June.
- Thorbecke, Erik & Charumilind, Chutatong, 2002. "Economic Inequality and Its Socioeconomic Impact," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1477-1495, September.
- William Easterly & Ross Levine & David Roodman, 2003. "New Data, New Doubts: Revisiting "Aid, Policies, and Growth"," Working Papers 26, Center for Global Development.
- Kenny, Charles & Williams, David, 2001. "What Do We Know About Economic Growth? Or, Why Don't We Know Very Much?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-22, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:35:y:2007:i:5:p:735-751. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.