Will South Asia Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030? Learning from the MDGs Experience

ESID Working Paper No 126. Manchester: Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, The University of Manchester

30 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2019

See all articles by M. Niaz Asadullah

M. Niaz Asadullah

University of Reading - Department of Economics; University of Malaya

Antonio Savoia

University of Manchester - Global Development Institute

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester

Date Written: August 15, 2019

Abstract

This paper contributes to the debate on the Sustainable Development Goals progress by evaluating the MDGs’ achievements in South Asia and the policy and institutional challenges deriving from such experience. Using cross-country regressions and aggregate indicators of poverty, health, education and gender parity outcomes, we offer three sets of findings. First, comparative evidence shows that, while South Asia has converged with richer regions, there is still significant variation in gender equality, universal primary education, and income poverty achievements across countries. Second, projections based on past trends on where SDGs are expected to be by 2030 reveal that there is a long way to go, and that emblematic targets such as income poverty eradication may not be met in the populous South Asian countries. Finally, considering the expanded set of development targets in the SDGs and the growth slowdown in South Asia, we argue that further progress would simultaneously require increased public spending on health and education and reforms improving state capacity. A simulation exercise confirms that such a combination of interventions would deliver significant benefits in the region, particularly in areas that are critical to progress on the goals of ‘No Poverty’, ‘Quality Education’, ‘Gender Equality’, and ‘Inclusive Growth’.

Keywords: South Asia, poverty indicators, development indicators, public expenditure, state capacity, quality of governance, Sustainable Development Goals, Millennium Development Goals

Suggested Citation

Asadullah, Mohammad Niaz and Savoia, Antonio and Sen, Kunal, Will South Asia Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030? Learning from the MDGs Experience (August 15, 2019). ESID Working Paper No 126. Manchester: Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, The University of Manchester. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3437775 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3437775

Mohammad Niaz Asadullah

University of Reading - Department of Economics ( email )

Reading, RG6 6AA
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.reading.ac.uk/economics/about/staff/m-asadullah.asp

University of Malaya ( email )

Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan
Malaysia

Antonio Savoia (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Global Development Institute ( email )

Arthur Lewis building
Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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