OECD Rural Policy Reviews

1990-9284 (online)
1990-9276 (print)
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This series presents comprehensive reviews of rural policy in individual countries as well as analytical reports on various aspects of rural policy.
Also available in French
The New Rural Paradigm

The New Rural Paradigm

Policies and Governance You do not have access to this content

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26 June 2006
9789264023918 (PDF) ;9789264023901(print)

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What is the new rural paradigm? Its main characteristics are a focus on places rather than sectors and an emphasis on investments rather than subsidies. In an era of reduced agricultural employment, this report highlights the important and diverse challenges facing rural areas, their unused potential, and the inability of sectoral policy to address this. It also provides an overview of the main socio-economic trends affecting rural areas across the OECD. Further, it addresses the governance requirements of the new cross-sectoral approach to rural policy.

Also available in French, German, Spanish
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  • Executive Summary
    Predominantly rural regions account for about 75% of the land and almost a quarter of the population in OECD countries. Rapid changes in the international economy confront rural regions with some obvious threats but also with significant opportunities that rural policy must address. These changes include globalisation, improved communications and reduced transportation costs, changing trade patterns for commodities, and the emergence of important non-farm activities in rural regions.
  • The State of Rural Regions
    On the most common indicator of economic performance, GDP per capita, rural regions were only at 83% of the national average across OECD countries in 2000. Furthermore, in more than half of OECD countries (13 out of 23 with data), GDP per capita in rural regions declined as a per cent of the national average between 1995 and 2000.
  • Rural Policy
    Three factors are influencing rural policy making across OECD countries: 1) increased focus on natural and cultural amenities; 2) recognition of the limits of agriculture policy and international pressures to reform it; and 3) decentralisation and new trends in regional policy.
  • Governance Strategies to Support Rural Policy
    The "new rural paradigm" requires important changes in how policies are conceived and implemented to include a cross-cutting and multi-level governance approach. Traditional hierarchical administrative structures are likely to be inadequate to administer these policies effectively and adjustments are thus needed along three key governance dimensions: horizontally at both the central and the local levels and vertically across levels of government.
  • TDPC Chairman's Statement
    During the two-day debate on rural development policy, there was a hidden tension (almost as something not to be talked about) between two different objectives: equity and efficiency. The first one being related to the social objective of allowing all citizens at least "minimum equal chances" (however defined); the second one capturing the goal of competitiveness. Even if it is difficult to admit, these two dimensions (equity and efficiency) do not always go together.
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