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Getting Progress Right: Measuring Progress Towards the MDGs Against Historical Trends

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  • Stephan Klasen

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Simon Lange

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

Abstract

Most numerical targets within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are overly ambitious for the poorest countries when interpreted as country-specifi c goals. As a consequence, the current system undermines accountability and ownership and jeopardizes the public support the MDGs have drawn in the past. This paper proposes an alternative approach to evaluating progress towards non-income MDGs that allows a sensible appraisal of countries' progress. We fi rst estimate transition paths towards high levels of achievement for three MDG indicators (under- five mortality, primary completion, and gender equality in education). In line with previous empirical work, we fi nd that the sigmoid-shaped transition path captures several features of past transition episodes. Accounting only for initial levels and time elapsed, our models explain up to 80 percent of the within-country variation in the data depending on the indicator considered. Estimated transition paths are then used to project progress towards high levels of achievement since 1990. Comparing actual with projected progress allows us to identify over- and underachievers based on realistic expectations. For example, we find that while some countries in Sub-Sahara Africa have in fact shown considerable performance towards low levels of under-five mortality, the bulk of the the countries in that region is still lagging behind. Finally, we provide some preliminary regression results.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephan Klasen & Simon Lange, 2011. "Getting Progress Right: Measuring Progress Towards the MDGs Against Historical Trends," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 87, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 20 Feb 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:087
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sabina Alkire, José Manuel Roche and Andy Sumner, 2013. "Where do the World’s Multidimensionally Poor People Live?," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp061, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    2. Lange, Simon & Klasen, Stephan, 2017. "How the New International Goal for Child Mortality is Unfair to Sub-Saharan Africa (Again)," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 128-146.
    3. Christophe Muller & Asha Kannan & Roland Alcindor, 2016. "Multidimensional Poverty in Seychelles," Working Papers halshs-01264444, HAL.
    4. Meg Elkins & Simon Feeny & David Prentice, 2015. "Do Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers reduce poverty and improve well-being?," Discussion Papers 15/02, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    5. Maria Lo Bue & Stephan Klasen, 2013. "Identifying Synergies and Complementarities Between MDGs: Results from Cluster Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 647-670, September.
    6. Charles Kenny, Jonathan Karver, and Andy Sumner, 2012. "MDGs 2.0: What Goals, Targets, and Timeframe? - Working Paper 297," Working Papers 297, Center for Global Development.
    7. David Hulme & Rorden Wilkinson, 2012. "Brave new world: global development goals after 2015," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 16812, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    8. Jacob, Arun, 2017. "Mind the Gap: Analyzing the Impact of Data Gap in Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) Indicators on the Progress toward MDGs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 260-278.
    9. Alkire, Sabina & Roche, José Manuel & Vaz, Ana, 2017. "Changes Over Time in Multidimensional Poverty: Methodology and Results for 34 Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 232-249.
    10. Edward, Peter & Sumner, Andy, 2014. "Estimating the Scale and Geography of Global Poverty Now and in the Future: How Much Difference Do Method and Assumptions Make?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 67-82.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    millennium development goals; human development; mortality transition; education transition;

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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