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Evaluation of Rural Development Requires Clarity on Expected Outcomes

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  • Richard Wakeford
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    Without good evaluation, we deny ourselves the evidence that should influence choices of policy instrument in the future. Evaluation of rural development is complex. The crucial thing is to be absolutely clear about the outcome you want before starting the project. For a building, defining desired outcomes is not too difficult if the architect and partners in development work properly with the client from the start. Evaluation of whether society is achieving sustainable development is pretty near impossible, given so many competing views of what success might look like in terms of outcomes. Evaluation of rural development policy falls somewhere between these two extremes. The suspicion is that, despite Regulations agreed at Council level, the EU's 27 'Rural Development' Ministers would not reveal much consensus about the desired outcomes of the EU's rural development policy. Ministers and officials may find it hard to bring themselves to do evaluation as it may show that their policies haven't delivered. Nevertheless, useful evaluation can take place. It has to face a series of technical issues, such as 'Should the evaluation be of individual programmes or combinations of programmes'. It also has to respect certain principles, such as the 'arms length' status of the evaluator. Copyright (c) 2010 The Author. Journal compilation (c) The Agricultural Ecomomics Society and the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2010.

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    Article provided by The Agricultural Economics Society in its journal EuroChoices.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (04)
    Pages: 37-41

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:eurcho:v:9:y:2010:i:1:p:37-41
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