Models of rural development and approaches to analysis evaluation and decision-making

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Recent changes to the framework of agricultural support, particularly the rising prominence of the ‘Second Pillar’ of the CAP, have stimulated an increasing interest in rural development policy, and consequently a need for better understanding of the processes it is designed to influence. The spatial diversity of rural economic activity, and a high level of dependence of the countryside on urban economic activity, implies that models based on a single sector, that focus only on economic activity or that assume a simple differentiation between urban and rural are problematic. Drawing particularly on experience within the United Kingdom, the paper identifies a series of alternative models: sectoral, multisectoral, territorial and local that represent the different approaches that have been taken to rural development policy, and argues that the nature of rural development has undergone fundamental changes that have profound implications for analysis and evaluation of policy. This involves balancing the reductionist implications of quantitative evaluation against the relatively slender empirical base of rural sociological understanding. The paper concludes by suggesting new directions for improved approaches towards interventions designed to promote rural development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
JournalEconomie Rurale
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • common agricultural policy
  • policy evaluation
  • rural development


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