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Integrated rural development - The concept and its operation


  • Gusztav Nemes

    () (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Economics)


Our paper explores, on a theoretical level, the reason for frequent failures of rural development policies and identifies some potential improvements in rural policy making in Europe. Our approach to des/integration concerns actors, resources, institutions, knowledge, the fundamental logic of development, and the interplay between two distinct levels of rural development: the level of policies, or central intervention; and the level of local aspirations aimed at improving everyday rural life. Along these lines, two characteristic systems of rural development – the central bureaucratic and the local heuristic – can be clearly identified. Ideally, these should work in co-operation, complementing each other, forming an integrated development system, where rural policy serves to (i) channel resources, establish strategic aims and development models in a top-down mode, and (ii) convey information and mediate social, economic, political interests in a bottom-up mode. However, lack of integration and divergence of interest can lead to dysfunction, conflict and dissipation within the system. We argue that rural development policies tend to fail because the central bureaucratic system imposes top-down control and objectives throughout the development process, thus failing to sufficiently promote the reconfiguration of local resources, which is better achieved through bottom-up processes and the local heuristic system. In other words, the tendency to disjunction between the two basic socio-political systems of rural development is the main reason for the failure of rural development policy. The paper offers analytical models of integrated and non-integrated rural development systems and illustrates the argument through some examples taken from the community initiatives and the pre-accession policies of the European Union. The study is in two halves. The first half elaborates the concept of ‘integrated rural development’. based on international literature. The second part offers a few new conceptions, as a contribution to the ‘new rural development theory’ and simple models of integrated and non-integrated development.

Suggested Citation

  • Gusztav Nemes, 2005. "Integrated rural development - The concept and its operation," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 0506, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:0506

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    Cited by:

    1. Vergina CHIRIŢESCU, 2015. "Aspects Regarding The Romanian Rural Area Development After The Accession To The European Union," Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Institute of Agricultural Economics, vol. 12(2), pages 197-204.
    2. L. J. Fredericks, 2012. "Exploring the Spatial Dimensions of Rural Development Models in Malaysia 1957-2007," Institutions and Economies (formerly known as International Journal of Institutions and Economies), Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, vol. 4(1), pages 47-62, April.
    3. Margarian, Anne, 2010. "Methodische Ansätze zur Quantifizierung der Arbeitsplatzeffekte von Maßnahmen zur ländlichen Entwicklung," Arbeitsberichte aus der vTI-Agrarökonomie 10/2010, Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries.
    4. Varga Eszter, 2009. "Non-profit organizations in hungarian rural development - a leader+ example in the southern transdanubian region," European Countryside, Sciendo, vol. 1(2), pages 93-103, January.
    5. Vermeire, Bert & Gellynck, Xavier & De Steur, Hans & Viaene, Jacques, 2008. "Networks in Rural Economy: Valorising Endogenous and Exogenous Drivers of Innovation," 110th Seminar, February 18-22, 2008, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 49846, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    6. Szabó, Dorottya & Juhász, Anikó, 2015. "Consumers’ and producers’ perceptions of markets: service levels of the most important short food supply chains in Hungary," Studies in Agricultural Economics, Research Institute for Agricultural Economics, vol. 117(2), pages 1-8, August.
    7. Arato, Miguel & Spellman, Stijn & Dessein, Joost & van Huylenbroeck, Guido, 2016. "Assessment of socio-economic configuration of value chains: a proposed analysis framework to facilitate integration of small rural producers with global agribusiness," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, vol. 20(1), October.
    8. Dobay, Krisztina Melinda, 2011. "The Role Of Knowledge-Based Networks In The Sustainable Development Of The Rural Space," Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Institute of Agricultural Economics, vol. 8(2), pages 213-220.

    More about this item


    Rural development; local development; rural policy; European Union; LEADER Programme; centre-periphery; local governance;

    JEL classification:

    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General


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