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

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  • Margarian, Anne

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Margarian, Anne, 2010. "Restrictions of empirical policy analyses: the example of the evaluation of rural development policies," 118th Seminar, August 25-27, 2010, Ljubljana, Slovenia 95320, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa118:95320
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/95320
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Baldwin, Richard E. & Martin, Philippe, 2004. "Agglomeration and regional growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 60, pages 2671-2711 Elsevier.
    4. 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.
    5. Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2005. "PROGRESA and its impacts on the welfare of rural households in Mexico:," Research reports 139, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation

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