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From government to governance: Polish regional development agencies in a changing regional context

Ferry, M. (2007) From government to governance: Polish regional development agencies in a changing regional context. East European Politics and Societies, 21 (3). pp. 447-474. ISSN 0888-3254

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This article charts the evolving role of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in Poland. It argues that changes to regional institutional and policy environments, linked to processes of regionalisation, EU accession, and the administration of European Union structural funds, have prompted increasing diversification of RDA activities. Moreover, questions of democratic accountability and economic efficiency are becoming increasingly pointed. Has regionalisation boosted the democratic accountability and regional orientation of agencies? Has administrative reform simplified agencies' delivery of development programmes? What influence has the administration of structural funds had on this? The article explores these issues, stressing generally that theoretical analyses of RDA activities must take increasing account of agency "positioning," i.e., their role and purpose in an increasingly crowded and complex regional policy arena. Future scenarios for the evolution of RDAs in Poland are also outlined.