This article considers the relationship between centralised, exogenous institutions and the embedded, endogenous institutions of rural governance in Europe through an examination of the evaluation procedures of the European LEADER programme. LEADER is presented in the literature as progressive in terms of innovation and stakeholder engagement. Yet, while the planning and management of LEADER embraces heterogeneity and participation, programmatic evaluation is centralised and is held at arms length from the delivery organisations. The article reviews previous efforts to improve evaluation in LEADER and considers alternative strategies for evaluation, contrasting LEADER practice with participatory evaluation methodologies in the wider international context. Can evaluation in itself be valuable as a mode of social learn-ing and hence a driver for endogenous development in rural communities in Europe? The article concludes by examining the challenges in producing a hybrid form of evaluation that accommodates both endogenous and exogenous values.
programme evaluation self evaluation qualitative and quantitative evaluation LEADER Programme multi-level governance rural development EU regional development EU rural development policies policy analysis institutional development local development Common Agricultural Policy CAP