by John W. McArthur and Krista Rasmussen
Brookings Global Economy & Development Working Paper 98, 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. Amid the world’s complex cross-currents of economics, politics and security, pathways of cause and effect are difficult to discern. Moreover, the MDGs spoke to a wide range of policy priorities, so any findings are likely to vary considerably across issues and geographies. Nonetheless, it is possible to conduct a quantitative investigation of trends before and after the establishment of the MDGs.