The Importance of Regional Networks for the Success of EU Rural Development Programmes
This project was part of the EU-project "Development and application of advanced quantitative methods to ex-ante and ex-post evaluations of rural development programmes in the EU" (ADVANCED-EVAL), coordinated by the University of Kiel. It belonged to working package 4 with the main focus on developing an adequate methodology and tools of quantitative network analyses applied to rural development. An aim of the project was to identify the network structures that influence the efficacy of several RD-programmes. The target regions of the overall project were selected NUTS 3-5 regions in Slovakia and Poland. The main focus of the Mannheim subproject was on the policy network survey. We were gathering and analyzing data on network relations between important persons and among governmental and non-governmental organizations on the local level. One result of the comparative policy network studies was that cooperation among local elites is an important characteristic of high performing rural communities. Local elite network structures can enhance local government performance. Cooperative political decision making processes allow a more balanced political compromise concerning policy decisions. In conjunction with the results from other groups of the project, it could be demonstrated that the structure of social networks has a significant impact on economic performance of rural households and firms.