Volume 118 - Issue 1

This thematic issue of Studies in Agricultural Economics is composed of papers that examine human and social capital in rural development. The idea behind this choice of topic is to get a picture of the kind of research currently being undertaken in this field, how this research covers the important issue of rural development, in a world where there is “a shift toward a service orientated and knowledge-based economy based on individuals creativity in using accessible information to benefit and create values for themselves and others” (Salenbacher, 2015, p46), where there are “changes brought by technology, connectivity” (ibid. p.44), and an added challenge: climate change. Luthans et al. (2004) also underline that “The rising recognition of human resources as a competitive advantage in today’s global economy, human capital and, more recently, social capital are being touted in both theory, research, and practice” (p.45). There are many different definitions of human and social capitals, concepts that are sometimes hard to measure but essential to success. Human capital is most often described by indicators such as age, gender, education and health, but there are other factors such as experience, different skills, knowledge and ideas which determine this capital. According to the World...

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Several dozen simple forecasting models for a range of socio-economic indicators were developed for the NUTS 2 region of Mazowieckie voivodeship, the capital province of Poland, with 314 LAU 2 municipalities (gminas) being the basic units of modelling. Given that this set of municipalities encompasses the European-level agglomeration of Warszawa, several subregional centres, smaller towns and a multiplicity of small rural municipalities, the models reflect quite a selection of social, economic and resource situations, including rural areas of varied characteristics. In view of the broad range of the subject matter, the number of indicators modelled (around 70) and the orientation at the basic administrative units, the undertaking is unprecedented. Social and intellectual capital-related aspects were included among those modelled and the paper focuses on these from the methodological and substantive points of view, presenting some of the results and the conclusions drawn from them. We show that construction of such a varied and versatile model system is feasible, that it can be useful for pragmatic purposes, and that individual models of indicators (phenomena) can effectively represent the processes that are of importance at the local scale and, through aggregation, also regionally. In particular, the diverse courses of processes in the...

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This study aims to determine the relationship between total, average and marginal human factor productivity and the level of education of a farm manager in Poland. The study was carried out based on unit empirical data from the monitoring of the Polish Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) and covered the four Polish FADN macro-regions: Pomorze & Mazury, Wielkopolska & Śląsk, Mazowsze & Podlasie and Małopolska & Pogórze. The study involved the Cobb-Douglas production function method. Using the relationship between total production (in PLN) of a farm and the aggregated production factors such as total labour input in AWU (Annual Work Unit), area of arable land (ha) and fixed assets (PLN), labour productivity was determined based on the level of education of the farm manager. The results indicate that the flexibility of production in relation to the labour factor was significantly higher in the group of farms managed by farmers with higher-level education in two out of four analysed macro-regions and on a national scale. In addition, human capital approximated by the level of education had a positive effect on the average and marginal productivity of the analysed farms.

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In recent years, social innovation has been gaining more attention, not only in the scholarly literature and in public discourse but in rural development practice as well. An important reason for this is the greater involvement of civil society in this form of innovation. In this paper, building on definitions of social innovation found in the literature, we focus on the actual processes of social innovation in rural Hungary. The hypothesis behind our research was that a better understanding of how social innovation takes place in practice could increase its presence and efficiency in rural development. To explore these issues, we analysed four different cases of social innovation situated in rural Hungary. Our research shows that, despite common patterns, social innovation is highly dependent on its actual context and on the individual, the agentic engine, who initiates and carries out the innovation. For the capitalisation and the long-term sustainability of an innovative development project the institutionalisation of social networks gathering around it seems to be another crucial factor. Thus, creating an appropriate frame to drive the process all the way from the innovative idea through product development to institutionalisation, possibly in the form of a social enterprise, can be considered...

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Since the 1990s the LEADER approach has very powerfully addressed the spirit of mobilising actors in the countryside through focusing on endogenous potential and activating local stakeholders across all sectors. Given the long-term experience and wealth of diverse development initiatives across the European Union (EU), the diversity of implementation is huge. Considering the limited fi nancial support as a Community Initiative (until 2006), a signifi cant extension and ‘upgrading’ of LEADER was intended by integrating it into the EU Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) since 2007. The shift from the character of a ‘pilot’ instrument at the start of LEADER to its ‘mainstreaming’ into the RDPs involved radical administrative changes and high expectations of increased impacts. The interest in LEADER practice and effectiveness led to many studies that in general apply a limited perspective of self-evaluation and refl ection on LEADER activities. Its main impact is seen in providing learning processes in rural regions and the effects on changes in local governance through extended involvement of local stakeholders and institutions. This paper provides a synthesis of European experiences and analyses of core changes, in particular by referring to the example of implementation in the Austrian context. The main lessons are based...

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Since the 1990s, innovation has been recognised as having a key role in the development and competitiveness of European rural territories. In particular, in the LEADER approach, innovation is seen in social and cultural terms rather than as a technological issue, but it has been interpreted by national and, above all, local policies almost exclusively in the latter sense. Especially at local level, often a ‘productivist’ approach emerges that in many cases reveals deeply-rooted conservativeness in the planning and implementation of programmes. Puglia, a NUTS 2 region in southern Italy, acknowledges the key role of innovation in rural development and invested a bigger share of funding in Axes III and IV of Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy in the 2007-2013 programming cycle than did the other Italian regions. This study examines the regional case in two interconnected stages to identify firstly the interpretation of innovation from the programmatic and operative points of view, and secondly, the needs and critical issues in terms of innovation in governance on the local scale through interviews with stakeholders from a representative LAG named ‘Terra dei Messapi’. It reveals not only a marked disparity in the way innovation was interpreted, but also the...

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The involvement of disadvantaged groups in European Union neo-endogenous rural development programmes, such as the LEADER programme, must be a high priority. In this paper we study the profiles of the beneficiaries of LEADER and PRODER, the main Spanish example of mainstreaming the LEADER method, in the NUTS 2 region of Andalucía, Spain in the period 2002-2008, and of the decision makers in the Local Action Groups (LAGs). Using quantitative information provided by the regional administration and a questionnaire survey of managers of the LAGs, we show that there has been continuing underrepresentation of previously disadvantaged groups and territories, so contributing to uneven and selective empowerment and governance that favours the emergence of a project class. The groups that have benefited the most from LEADER investments have been entrepreneurs and ‘town halls’, in this order. Interviewed LAG managers felt that many mistakes had been made in the application of LEADER: excessive bureaucracy and interventionism by the regional administration, loss of the original philosophy, low participation of disadvantaged groups and lack of strategic vision. As was noted by one of the LAG managers, “LEADER has been a victim of its own success; the universalisation of its method has led to the...

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In the 2007-2013 European Union programming period, Romania benefi tted from assistance provided through the Human Resources Development Operational Programme, fi nanced by the European Social Fund, to promote social inclusion. Women are, in many instances, a vulnerable group that needs support from various sources for greater integration in the labour market. This integration resides in encouraging entrepreneurship. The purpose of this paper is to analyse how support is anticipated by women planning to start a business and assessed by those who already have experience in entrepreneurship. To achieve the research objectives, a study was conducted on a sample of 774 women in three NUTS 2 development regions of Romania in 2013. The variables used in the analysis were grouped using factor analysis in two factors. The results of the primary analysis reveal a greater emphasis on the fi rst factor, represented by institutions, and less importance given to the second factor, represented by family and friends. However, potential female entrepreneurs are characterised by a tendency to overestimate the fi rst factor, as positive on the one hand or rather negative on the other, in terms of starting an entrepreneurial approach. Our results point out the need for a stronger...

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  • Scopus SJR (2022): 0.27
  • Scopus CiteScore (2022): 2.0
  • WoS AIS (2022): 0.23
  • WoS JCI (2022): 0.37
  • ISSN (electronic): 2063-0476
  • ISSN-L 1418-2106



Publisher Name: Institute of Agricultural Economics Nonprofit Kft. (AKI)

Publisher Headquarters: Zsil utca 3-5, 1093-Budapest, Hungary

Name of Responsible Person for Publishing:        Dr. Pal Goda

Name of Responsible Person for Editing:             Dr. Attila Jambor

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The publication cost of the journal is supported by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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