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Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Economic Review
Rural policy lessons from OECD countries
Mario Pezzini

In this paper presented at this year's rural conference, Beyond Agriculture: New Policies for Rural America, Dr. Pezzini of the OECD explored how many of the challenges facing rural America are the same challenges found in rural areas throughout the world. Although agriculture and other natural resource industries are still important economic sectors, they are creating fewer and fewer rural jobs. Rural areas suffer from the outmigration of both young and highly skilled workers, leaving an aging population and strained public services. And most rural areas have difficulty mustering the critical mass of capital and infrastructure to encourage and sustain new rural> businesses.> Pezzini noted that while countries are responding in many different ways to these challenges, successful policies appear to have three common traits. First, rural policy is shifting from a focus on individual sectors (such as farm policy) to one based on regions or territories. Second, the administration and design of such policies devolves from national governments to the "new regions," which often cut across traditional political and administrative boundaries. That is, governments are recognizing that economic regions are more meaningful than traditional policy boundaries, and attempts are being made to align the two. Third, there are new attempts to better coordinate policies affecting rural areas. At the federal level, this often involves creating new interministerial working groups.> Pezzini concluded that these policy innovations could be especially instructive to a new generation of rural policy in the United States, where farm policy has been the major focus in the past.

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Mario Pezzini, "Rural policy lessons from OECD countries" , Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Economic Review, issue Q III, pages 47-57, 2000.
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Keywords: Rural areas ; Rural development
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