Summary: A Theoretical Foundation of Rural Development Interventions and Evaluations is NeededThis article argues that a lack of critical reflection on the theoretical foundations of policy interventions and evaluations is common in the discussion about evaluation of Rural Development programs. This shortcoming was also apparent in Special Issue 9(1) of EuroChoices. Intimate knowledge of the underlying causal processes is necessary in order to identify appropriate counterfactuals or reference-scenarios. It is only through their comparison with observed development that one can reliably isolate the net-effects of interventions. The current preoccupation with the indicator-based approach is rooted within the existing evaluation system. It hinders a more fundamental criticism of weak theoretical foundations of interventions. Reply by David Blandford and Berkeley HillDespite its limitations the current evaluation process can play an important role in shaping rural development policies in the European Union. While the theoretical content should be strengthened, it would be inadvisable to reject the current CMEF process in favour of an exclusive focus on theory. It is doubtful whether a sufficiently robust and general theory of rural development could be developed and applied to the diversity of rural areas in Europe. Devoting our efforts to improving the existing evaluation process and the indicators that this generates would be more productive in exposing rural development policies to greater scrutiny and improving their effectiveness.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development