by John W. McArthur and Krista Rasmussen
Global Economy & Development at Brookings, Working Paper 97, January 2017
Did the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) make any difference? Perhaps no question is more important for assessing the results of global policy cooperation over the past 15 years. But this is a challenging question to answer empirically. Nonetheless, it is possible to conduct a quantitative investigation of trends before and after the establishment of the MDGs: Which trajectories changed where, and to what scale of human consequence? That is the main purpose of this paper. It aims to answer the “what” questions in a manner that establishes boundaries for subsequent debate about “why” some patterns shifted while others did not.