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The Making of the Millennium Development Goals: Human Development Meets Results based Management In an Imperfect World


  • David Hulme


This paper argues that two ideas – human development and results-based management – have been particularly significant in shaping the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These are unlikely intellectual bedfellows, but by charting the evolution of the MDGs their many influences are demonstrated. However, ideas are only one of the factors shaping the MDGs and the interests of many different actors are revealed in this account. At times the ideas of human development and results-based management were pursued but, when they challenge the interests of powerful groups or nations, their principles are compromised or assiduously avoided.With the wisdom of hindsight the relative coherence of the MDGs seems remarkable, given the processes from which they emerged. Perhaps the ‘Hiding Hand’ that Albert Hirschman identified 40 years ago guides some elements of global public policy over the long term.

Suggested Citation

  • David Hulme, 2007. "The Making of the Millennium Development Goals: Human Development Meets Results based Management In an Imperfect World," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 1607, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:1607

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    1. Ira N. Gang & Kunal Sen & Myeong-Su Yun, 2006. "Poverty in Rural India: Ethnicity and Caste," Departmental Working Papers 200634, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    2. Yun, Myeong-Su, 2004. "Decomposing differences in the first moment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 275-280, February.
    3. van de Walle, Dominique & Gunewardena, Dileni, 2001. "Sources of ethnic inequality in Viet Nam," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 177-207, June.
    4. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    5. Adam Fforde, 2005. "Persuasion: Reflections on economics, data, and the 'homogeneity assumption'," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 63-91.
    6. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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    Cited by:

    1. Moldalieva, Janyl & Muttaqien, Arip & Muzyamba, Choolwe & Osei, Davina & Stoykova, Eli & Le Thi Quynh, Nga, 2016. "Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): Did they change social reality?," MERIT Working Papers 035, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Chhotray, Vasudha & Hulme, David, 2009. "Contrasting Visions for Aid and Governance in the 21st Century: The White House Millennium Challenge Account and DFID's Drivers of Change," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 36-49, January.

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