7-State-Evaluation: environment, economic growth, employment and life-quality in rural areas


Maintenance of social infrastructures in rural settlements (c) Thünen-Institut/Winfried Eberhardt
Sign of an EU financed citizen shop in Brandenburg (© Thünen-Institut/Winfried Eberhardt)

How  do the Rural development programmes contribute to environmental protection, economic growth and employment, life-quality and governance in rural areas?

The evaluation at the Institute of Rural Studies covers most of the provided measures of the six rural development programmes. We examine the programme effects on water and soil protection, on economic growth and employment as well as quality of life in rural areas. Furthermore we analyze the implementation procedures and the costs of implementation in order to assess the efficiency of funding.

The project is realised in close copperation with the Thünen-Institute for Farm Economics and WF as well as entera. It is linked to the 7-Laender-Evaluation.

Background and Objective

The RDPs pursue a broad range of objectives. Accordingly funding has many different starting  points, for example: qualification of people working in agriculture; improved dyke construction;  payments for organic farming; conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage; Village renewal and development, or support to LEADER-Local Action Groups. We evaluate if the measures are appropriate to solve the detected problems (relevance), if the chosen aims are achieved (target achievement), if the impact observed can be attributed to the support (impact and causality) and the costs of the implementation of each measure (cost-effectiveness-analysis).


The first step is the measure check: What are the specific objectives? Is the design of the measure appropriate /coherent with their objectives? Who are the intended beneficiaries? The next step is the analysis of the delivery: How many projects have been funded? How much public money was spent? Are there obstacles in the design of measures which prevent potential beneficiaries from applying for funding? Are the administrative procedures clear and easy to handle? These questions linked to the implementation of RDPs are especially important in the beginning of the funding period. Later on, impact and efficiency  analysis of single measures, as well as of the programme as a whole, have a higher priority. For this purpose, we defined in-depth-study areas to aggregate measure impacts linked to the same objective as well as to analyze programme effects in the context of general development.  These in-depth-study areas are employment and growth, water protection, climate protection and quality of life.  Further extended analysis is done on the costs of implementation. This means at first to identify the costs of implementation for each measure and also the costs for programme overhead. These findings are then contrasted  with the achieved impact. This helps also to find out which factors enhance the efficiency and quality of the programmes and which are cost drivers.  An example: local jobs close to home are rare in the rural areas in Hesse and the banks hesitate to hand out loans to micro enterprises. Thus, the Hessian RDP provides subsidies for new enterprises, and the enlargement of existing micro enterprises, i.e., printing company, private consultancy service on nutrition and diet. It is quite obvious that the small number of supported projects  can't cause a remarkable effect on the labour market. The impact may be even more limited if one considers dead weight or replacement effects.  And if you look then at the cost of implementation, the measures becomes even more problematic. For one Euro of funding  you have to spend 46 cents for the administrative costs. As the projects are very diverse, it is not possible to establish standardized routines for the obligatory control of EU-Funds. In combination with a small volume to spent, this makes a measure quite expensive and inefficient.

Data and Methods

We use data from the paying agencies, the funding-departments in the ministries and their administration.  This data is partly provided as individual data records. To answer the evaluation-questions it is necessary to collect more specific qualitative and quantitative information and data. The typical/used methods in our project are surveys with written questionnaires, interviews, group discussions and case studies. To analyse the data we use the wide range of methods of empirical social research.


Evaluation results should support evidence-based decision-making processes in politics regarding programme implementation and general construction of rural development programmes. Two major reports are to be conducted: 2010 the Mid-Term-Evaluation and 2015 the Ex-post-Evaluation. During the whole project duration various thematic reports were published.  The reports are available on www.eler-evaluierung.de


Involved Thünen-Partners

Former Thünen-Partners

  • Dickel, Regina - she worked in this research project until April 2016.
  • Moser, Andrea - she worked in this research project until December 2016.
  • Spengler, Martin - he worked in this research project until December 2016.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • entera
    (Hannover, Deutschland)


11.2006 - 6.2017

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished

Publications to the project

Results 1 - 5 of 28

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  1. Pollermann K, Raue P, Schnaut G (2014) Demographic change: challenges and actions in rural development policy. In: Diverse regions: building resilient communities and territories : Annual European Conference ; Sunday 15th - Wednesday 18th June 2014 ; Dokuz Eylül University, Faculty of Business, Izmir, Turkey. Izmir: Dokuz Eylül University, pp 107-108
  2. Fährmann B, Schnaut G, Raue P (2014) Interview: "Für fondsübergreifende Ansätze müssen die Ressorts aufeinander zugehen und gemeinsame Strukturen schaffen". LandInForm(2):22-23
  3. Pollermann K (2013) Destination Governance aus empirischer Sicht : Analyse von tourismusbezogenen Governance-Arrangements und Schlussfolgerungen für die Praxis. In: Wöhler K, Saretzki A (eds) Governance von Destinationen : Neue Ansätze für die erfolgreiche Steuerung touristischer Zielgebiete . Berlin: Schmidt, pp 131-157
  4. Fährmann B, Grajewski R (2013) How expensive is the implementation of rural development programmes? Empirical results on implementation costs and their consideration in the evaluation of rural development programmes . Eur Rev Agric Econ 40(4):541-572, DOI:10.1093/erae/jbs045
  5. Raue P, Pollermann K, Schnaut G (2013) Place-making and Governance in LEADER [online]. In: Rural resilience and vulnerability: the rural as locus of solidarity and conflict in times of crisis : XXVth Congress of the European Society for Rural Sociology ; 29 July - 1 August 2013. Pisa: Laboratorio di studi rurali SISMONDI, pp 141-142, zu finden in <http://www.florenceesrs2013.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ESRS2013_eProceedings_final.pdf > [zitiert am 21.11.2013]

Results 1 - 5 of 28

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