Infrastructure priorities in developing countries
March 16, 2012 1:13 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for information on how infrastructure priorities are determined for developing countries.

The priority-setting could be within the countries themselves or by donors.

I’m striking out with Google. And I tried looking through information on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, but I didn’t find anything on how or why those goals were chosen.

In this context, I’m thinking of infrastructure fairly broadly. It could include medical care and computers, but not direct delivery of food aid.

If information specific to infrastructure is lacking, information about determining general priorities for aid or development could help.

The end result I’m working toward is trying to determine whether there is or should be an evolutionary sequence. As a made-up example, maybe it’s important to first have broad access to basic sanitation, then primary schooling, then electricity.
posted by maurreen to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The World Bank should have data on their country specific sites.

As an aside, there might be a proposed evolutionary sequence depending on the ideology popular in that era but the reality on the ground is usually far different - an example is the penetration of mobile phones and their subsequent impact on GDP even though they were never on the list of infrastructure priority.
posted by infini at 2:31 PM on March 16, 2012

And I tried looking through information on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, but I didn’t find anything on how or why those goals were chosen.

I think Easterly tweeted that Sachs pulled it out of a ... hat
posted by infini at 2:33 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

The question you're asking is a discourse that fuels much of the UN! You need to be way more specific to get any real answers here. At the very least, pick a country, pick an era, and pick a key topic (such as water, sanitation, gender, education, reproductive health, environment, etc).
posted by msk1985 at 5:51 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding msk.

The answer is... it depends. Depends on the country, depends on the sector, depends on the year, depends on which donors they're getting money from, depends on if there's elections coming up, depends on if there's a war going on, depends on if the Chinese are involved, depends on if there are natural resources to be extracted and prices of those resources, etc etc.

Sequencing is a part of that. Certainly a debate in the democracy/governance area - like how much stability and state infrastructure should there be after a conflict before you have elections - as well as in economic development.

Check out "Why Nations Fail" - there was just a post on the blue a couple of days ago with good links. Short answer is that one reason nations fail is because they don't have the institutions needed to make good decisions about where to invest. (The US is probably headed in that direction as well.)

And, strikingly, the MDGs completely avoid any reference to governance issues. Which is why they're a better PR vehicle for Sachs and Bono than they are useful guide to development issues.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 8:23 PM on March 16, 2012

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