Measuring the Impact of Regional Projects: Developing an Evaluative Framework for Regional Economic Development

  • Dafydd Williams

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis proposes solutions to assist agencies in optimising their contribution to regional development. It develops a technique of project appraisal that is both theoretically sound and of practical use. The objective is to help policy makers and practitioners to appraise, monitor and evaluate regional policy projects.

    A review of theory and practice examines how various schools of economic thought assess the case for regional economic policy. The thesis argues that the context for evaluation has grown more complex and demanding, as regional policy moves away from simple job creation and tackles a greater variety of goals and objectives.

    A taxonomy of evaluative techniques, both macro- and micro-economic, is presented. Particular attention is paid to cost-benefit analysis which, despite distributional, ethical and measurement difficulties, provides a consistent ranking of projects. The thesis describes how evaluators judge the true, 'additional' impact of intervention, and how this may be tracked by indicators and targets.

    In the context of regional policy, project appraisal requires calculation of grant deadweight, displacement and substitution, multiplier effects and leakage from the target area. Current appraisal processes in the UK are compared with the more rigorous procedures of the Republic of Ireland.

    The next stage in the thesis is the specification of an economic model, which assesses benefits and costs and produces two evaluative measures (Net Present Value and a Benefit-Cost Ratio) that can guide agencies faced with a budget constraint. This model is used to compare different project datasets, using data supplied by the former Welsh Development Agency and a sensitivity analysis is performed.

    The thesis shows that outcomes are strongly affected by variations in project wages and in the shadow wage. It sets out implications for theory and makes a number of recommendations for policy and practice, including specific proposals for stakeholders in Wales.
    Date of AwardOct 2007
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorStephen Hill (Supervisor) & David Pickernell (Supervisor)

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