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Evaluating policies for MDG achievement in Madagascar and Uganda


Research Institutions:

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris, France and Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Kiel, Germany



The overarching goal of the project is to assess the effectiveness of investment in MDG-related public services in order to provide recommendation on public spending priorities for the case of Madagascar.
In many countries there is a lack of knowledge on the effectiveness of public interventions and the related question of MDG-costing. Although spending priorities have always been of major concern to policy makers all over the world, the formulation of quantitative MDG targets has reinforced the demand for such knowledge.
Typically, models that have tried to evaluate costs of achieving MDG targets developed by the World Bank, e.g. for universal primary education (Bruns, 2003), and the UN (see Website of the UN Development Group) consider the inputs into public service delivery only. The MAMS model developed at the World Bank has overcome certain weaknesses of such cost-accounting approaches and has addressed the issue of absorptive capacity in a coherent framework taking into consideration general equilibrium effects, which these possibly large-scale public interventions are likely to have.
Yet, all existing frameworks, including the current MAMS model ignore – or treat only very superficially – at least two crucial aspects. First, even if services of reasonable quality are provided, there are plenty of reasons why people would still not use them: Parents do not send their children to school, one of the possible reasons being that children are needed as labor in agriculture, or mothers do not visit health clinics since they just do not see the need to do so due to a lack of education. These demand-side factors are largely ignored in the MDG costing literature and the consequences of doing so are dramatic. 
Synergies between public investment to achieve distinct MDGs in education, health, and water, but also simply income, are obvious and have been noted in numerous studies. Yet, rigorous empirical evidence on the topic is scarce.

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