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The TOP-MARD (FW6) project was designed to evaluate the impact of a range of optional rural development policies on the multiple functions of agriculture and assess the differing economic, social and environmental outcomes over time in 11 European rural regions. Two main tools were used, namely dynamic system modelling and Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Dynamic System Modelling allowed (ex ante) evaluation of the outcomes of various policy scenarios, while DEA provided the means of comparing these outcomes with relevant expenditures in the 11 regions studied. This paper describes and discusses these two tools, and suggests that they complement the evaluators’ tool-kit. System dynamics provides the means of assessing economic, social and environmental outcomes over time, while DEA analysis provides clues as to the relative efficiency of policies in delivering desired outcomes.


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