Variety in local development strategies and employment: LEADER programme in Andalusia
For the period 2007–2013 LEADER became the fourth axis of rural development policy. One of the main characteristics of LEADER is that it adopts a bottom-up approach. Local Action Groups (LAGs) have to define and implement area-based local development strategies (LDSs). In this paper, we examine the relationship between variety in the LDSs implemented by LAGs and employment safeguarding over the programming period 2007–2013 in Andalusia, the most populated region of Spain. Firstly, we construct several indicators to capture differences in the number of projects carried out, the grants awarded, the investments made and the safeguarded employment. Secondly, we carry out an exploratory factor analysis. We use cluster analysis to classify LAGs applying similar LDSs. The results obtained show that there is no ideal strategy for employment safeguarding and that spending high amounts of money in a few numbers of projects does not guarantee success. Thus, most LAGs do not show any clear specialisation pattern but obtain moderate results in terms of employment safeguarding. This supports the idea that LAGs need to have sufficient flexibility to find a balance among the different objectives of the rural development policy and to translate this balance into the funding of projects.
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