Focus On Learning What Policies Work To Achieve SDG Targets

Council on Foreign Relations’ “Development Channel”: Will Setting Goals End Hunger? What’s Next for the SDGs…
In a guest post, Dean Karlan, professor of economics at Yale University, president and founder of Innovations for Poverty Action, and founder of ImpactMatters, “a newly launched organization that helps nonprofits use and create evidence to assess their impact,” discusses the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and proposes a “tongue-in-cheek” idea to “randomize the way the 169 targets are assigned.” He says the proposal “highlights the challenge of measuring the new SDGs” and notes, “[W]hile the SDGs motivate us towards aspirational outcomes, they do not tell us what to do. Learning what policies actually work is a much more useful basis for a study, and where we should focus our attention” (O’Neil, 12/15).