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The evaluation of regional policy in Europe : culture, commitment and capacity

Bachtler, John (2011) The evaluation of regional policy in Europe : culture, commitment and capacity. In: Evaluating the Effects of Regional Interventions. Ministry of Regional Development, Warsaw, pp. 90-113. ISBN 978-83-7610-309-9

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Evaluation has a long history in Europe. As in North America, the growth of public expenditure in the 1950s and 1960s, associated with increasing government intervention through social and economic programmes, prompted the need for research on how best to allocate public funds in support of government objectives (what works?). With greater constraints on government spending during the 1970s and 1980s, evaluation was increasingly used for accountability purposes (how well is it working?) to justify the continuation or rationalisation of programmes (Derlien and Rist, 2002). Latterly, the complexity of policymaking has added further impetus with a proliferation of audit, assessment and evaluation activities intended to improve the design, governance and legitimacy of policies and processes (Nilsson et al, 2008).