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Rural development is multisectoral, including economic, sociopolitical, environmental, and cultural aspects of rural life.

Beyond the City: The Rural Contribution to Development

Initially, the focus is on the provision of basic minimum needs in food, shelter, clothing, health, and education, through optimum use and employment of all available resources, including human labor. The development goal is the total development of the human potential. The hierarchy of goals of development may be shown in the form of an inverted pyramid. At the base are basic minimum needs for subsistence whose fulfillment leads to a higher set of sociopolitical needs and ultimately to the goal of total developmentand the release of creative energies of every individual.

If development, as outlined, were to benefit the majority of the people then they would have to participate in decision making which affects their lives. This would require that the people mobilize themselves in the people'ssector. Thus, the smallest statistical unit within the Population Census is the enumeration district, the area covered by a single enumerator.

These districts are then aggregated into larger statistical units on which the analysis is conducted. In urban areas, groups of people with similar socio-economic characteristics tend to live in certain localities. These are often large enough to be identified as separate statistical units.

Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Master

However, within rural areas with smaller settlements, the unit will often include the whole settlement and so households with lower income will tend to be included together with those on higher incomes. Thus the mean figure for the rural unit may well fail to reveal the presence of a low income population. Table 1 suggests the different indicators and methods that may be associated with the different rural development models. They also have different implications for the sort of information collected and the potential policy inferences.

Even where the emphasis has shifted from increasing production, there is clearly potential for development by investing to reduce costs and rationalise farm production structures. The methods of analysis draw particularly on farm management but the approach clearly misses both the non-agricultural potentials for agricultural businesses and households as well as the conditions and opportunities in other sectors.

The multisectoral approach recognises this wider economic environment and looks more generally at indicators of the state of the economy as a whole and the interrelationships between sectors. However, in practice the focus tended to remain on farm business and households. Development is still interpreted largely in terms of employment and so policy evaluation concentrates on the costs of creating new employment opportunities.

This may suggest initiatives to attract new firms into the area or to stimulate employment creation from the development of endogenous resources. The territorial model recognises the wider set of social and environmental determinants of human welfare beyond employment and service provision. This suggests a cost-benefit approach that seeks to bring market and non-market values together into a single accounting framework.

The approach remains quantitative and concentrates on quantifiable impacts and changes. It seeks to recognise the variations in experiences amongst households and businesses within a particular local area and the significance of social and institutional capital in facilitating collective and community development. This indicates the introduction of qualitative research techniques, case studies or discourse analysis, and more deliberative approaches towards decision making.

These different models and methods have direct implications for the sorts of information that may be available for policy decisions and hence for decision-making processes table 1. Table 1. Indicators and methods in different development contexts. Farm household income Employment and unemployment Local value added Employment incomes. May still be limited to agriculture sector Misses social and environmental issues. Population change Proportion of population in disadvantage Average incomes Levels of service provision.

Misses variations in incomes and welfare amongst population and specific local circumstances.

Key Steps for Boosting Rural Economies

Social indicators Numbers of people in particular circumstances Individual experiences. Capacity to consider full range of experiences but problems with quantification and aggregation High transactions costs. This established the scope of rural policy, which covers fair access to rural service provision, including housing and transport; business performance in both the farm and non-farm sectors; rural conservation and leisure uses of the countryside; and the vitality of communities and rural civil society.

Attached to these four priorities are a series of 15 indicators. For economic development, for example, performance of policy initiatives has been measured from employment activity rates and unemployment rates in rural areas, the proportions of market towns that are thriving, stable or declining based on service provision, business activity and employment , new business start ups and turnover of businesses in rural areas, total income from farming and off farm income, and levels of agricultural employment 5.

This suggests a dominance of the multisectoral model in policy-thinking. When examining these policies themselves, however, there are some challenging complexities. The focus on economic and social regeneration is divided into two, sustaining the relative prosperity of the majority of rural territory, and more specific measures to address rural areas with economic and social disadvantage.

Most of these consist of rural top-up funding for existing economic development policies skills, business support, broadband technologies delivered through other Ministries or their agencies, and some minor regulatory modification of the land use planning system. Improvement of the economic and environmental performance of farming and food production is argued to be directly relevant to economic regeneration, although the contribution it can actually make may be small 7. The new paradigm may be seen as mixing the territorial and local models, with the more general territorial approach applying across rural areas, but recognising the potential for local variations in experiences and the role of case studies and some degree of decentralisation in decision-making.

In the context of a single dominant sector, support for this sector may well have trickled down to the population more generally, although even here there may be doubts as to the extent to which such support ever did get to those who were most in need. Much more importance needs to attach to identifying the specifics and spatial distributions of problems and their causes; but also, it is necessary to reveal the causal processes that have the potential to resolve the problems. As has been indicated, this may well require novel developments in the civil society of rural areas, but we have little systematic information on the roles and impacts of networks and associations in improving social and economic conditions.

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And we know less about how they may be successfully established and sustained. Analysis crosses the boundaries between economics and sociology. Quantitative information is required on economic activities, but a necessary complement is required in qualitative analysis of the influence of networks, trusts or social norms.

Rigorous in depth study of carefully selected local areas, using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data, can develop a sense of the interaction between increasingly diverse mixes of measures in contrasting rural contexts where different factors influence their expression and impacts, and contribute to understanding of how and why they operate in the way they do. These begin with selection and exploration of the objects of study, on the basis of general suppositions about the impact of policy which require testing.

Key Steps for Boosting Rural Economies

Multiple evidence sources should be scrutinized to test rival hypotheses, which might provide alternative explanations. Common protocols to investigate different expressions of the phenomenon impart additional robustness. Analysis requires assessment of different patterns in the multiple data sources to refine and rule out competing hypotheses, both within individual case studies and between case studies carried out in different contexts see, for example, Coffey and Atkinson, Local diversity implies that decisions must vary at the local level, but an appropriate multi-level governance system for the administration of rural development undermines the traditional understanding of effective sovereign governments delivering policies and assessing their impacts.

Differences exist in the operation of the networks of interests which have arisen to bridge the lack of coordination and consistency, overlapping with formal government structures and including specialist and highly effective interest groups, and informal frameworks embodied in conventions, each able to inhibit or facilitate the actions of others Morrison, The incidence of these, their effectiveness in addressing disadvantage, their impacts, and efficiency in deploying limited resources and expertise are all poorly understood and require investigation.

Case study methods can contribute to understanding of what is analogous to diverse ecosystems of intersecting associations and organisations, businesses, infrastructures, and environmental systems Edwards, Extending this metaphor, interaction, duplication, and synergy of rural civil society, and niche creation and occupation, are additional conceptual tools for analysis and investigation.

Because case-studies require examination of a great many variables, in detail, in a small number of cases, they are relatively expensive, and skilled evaluators are scarce. There is a risk of becoming overwhelmed by detail in mixed method evaluations conducted at local level, due to their discursive nature. It is difficult to elaborate local level evaluation that fully reflects the complexity and diversity of rural areas, and at the same time convey the critical information back up to higher levels to permit balanced and informed decisions to be taken about resource allocation.

Generalisation from case studies, especially from cross-case comparison where each individual study has been carried out in a consistent manner, is possible, but involves a different logic to conventional induction. In economic analysis, acceptance and consequent adoption of case study approaches is far from widespread Bitsch, because they do not allow for the familiar statistical generalisations which come from large scale surveys.

In contrast, theoretical generalisations deriving from identifying causal dependencies in one context contribute to better understanding of different mixes of influences in other rural areas. Our ability to make sense of different studies conducted in cases selected for varying purposes of which an increasing number have now been completed: for example, Hart ; Lee et al.

Perhaps this is the fundamental challenge to combine local level evaluation that fully reflects the complexity and diversity of rural areas, and yet to convey the critical information back up to higher levels to permit balanced and informed decisions to be taken about resource allocation across different regions and even countries. Strengths and weaknesses of European Union policy evaluation methods: ex-post evaluation of Objective 2, — Regional Studies , Vo. Bitsch V. Agricultural economics and qualitative research: incompatible paradigms? Bryden J. Buckwell A.

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