Construction and application of the Rural Development Index to analysis of rural regions
The main purpose of this research was to construct a multi-dimensional (composite) index measuring the overall level of rural development and quality of life in individual rural regions of a given EU country. In the Rural Development Index (RDI) the rural development domains are represented by hundreds of partial socio-economic, environmental, infrastructural and administrative indicators/variables at NUTS-4 level (e.g. 991 variables/indicators describing various aspects of rural development in Poland; 340 variables/indicators in Slovakia). The weights of economic, social and environmental domains entering the RDI index are derived empirically from the econometrically estimated intra- and inter-regional migration function after selecting the “best” model from various alternative model specifications (e.g. panel estimate logistic regression nested error structure model, spatial effect models, etc.). The RDI is empirically applied to analysis of the main determinants of rural/regional development in individual rural areas in years 2002-2005 in Poland and Slovakia at NUTS-4 level. Due to its comprehensiveness the RDI Index is suitable both to analysis of the overall level of development of rural areas and to an evaluation of the impacts (impact indicator) of RD and structural programmes at regional levels (NUTS 2-5).
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