Setting development goals using stochastic dynamical system models
Nicolis, Stamatios C.
Swain, Ranjula Bali
Sumpter, David J. T.
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The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) programme was an ambitious attempt to encourage a globalised solution to important but often-overlooked development problems. The programme led to wide-ranging development but it has also been criticised for unrealistic and arbitrary targets. In this paper, we show how country-specific development targets can be set using stochastic, dynamical system models built from historical data. In particular, we show that the MDG target of two-thirds reduction of child mortality from 1990 levels was infeasible for most countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, the MDG targets were not ambitious enough for fast-developing countries such as Brazil and China. We suggest that model-based setting of country-specific targets is essential for the success of global development programmes such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This approach should provide clear, quantifiable targets for policymakers.