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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," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 1607, GDI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:1607

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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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