Several progresses were made in evaluating the development policies for rural areas in the last years. Many indicators were introduced to assess the effectiveness of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Rural Development Policies (RDPs), and their role on the convergence process of the EU members, but a shared definition of rurality is still missing. This paper offers a methodological contribution towards the identification of rural areas and the assessment of the changes occurred during the EU membership, with particular attention to the CAP contribution, in Hungary. Applying explorative techniques belonging to multivariate statistics and stepwise econometrics to a set of relevant variables, clustered maps of the changes occurred in the Hungarian agricultural and rural areas before (2003) and after (2007) the EU enlargement are provided. The author believes that more targeted – and therefore efficient – policies for agricultural and rural areas require a deeper knowledge of their structural and dynamic characteristics.


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