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Restrictions of empirical policy analyses: the example of the evaluation of rural development policies

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  • Margarian, Anne
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    Abstract

    The present paper asks under what circumstances a standardisation of evaluations would be feasible in order to enable a comprehensible aggregation of results for the European administration. We argue that in the complex environment of rural development the adequate definition of system boundaries is a precondition for the successful application of empirical methods and the identification of causal effects. If macro effects and self-enforcing effects are important, the objects of inquiry have to be defined on a higher observational level. In this case, the statistical identification may not be possible because there might be hardly any comparable (“counterfactual”) observations. We conclude that evaluators need definite theoretical guidance in order to define consistently their field of inquiry. Only then, the goal of comparable and aggregable quantified results might be achievable to a certain degree.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 118th Seminar, August 25-27, 2010, Ljubljana, Slovenia with number 95320.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa118:95320

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    Related research

    Keywords: evaluation; complex systems; causal inference; counterfactual approach; Community/Rural/Urban Development; O22; Q18; R58; C51;

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    1. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2006. "Heterogeneous firms, agglomeration and economic geography: spatial selection and sorting," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 323-346, June.
    2. Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2005. "PROGRESA and its impacts on the welfare of rural households in Mexico:," Research reports 139, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Diego Puga, 2002. "European regional policies in light of recent location theories," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 373-406, October.
    4. Baldwin, Richard & Martin, Philippe, 2003. "Agglomeration and Regional Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3960, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Chen, Huey-Tsyh & Rossi, Peter H., 1987. "The theory-driven approach to validity," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-103, January.
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