What works in tackling rural poverty – An evidence review of rural poverty interventions

John Powell, Dan Keech and Matt Reed worked with Cardiff University to identify what works in tackling rural poverty by reviewing the evidence in a range of OECD countries evaluating interventions which have sought to address the issues of rural poverty.

The research was commissioned by The Public Policy Institute for Wales (PPIW), with the aim of identifying what lessons Wales can learn from these interventions elsewhere to assist in the development of Welsh rural policy.

The PPIW had worked closely with the Welsh Government on the tackling poverty agenda for the previous two years and had agreed to take on responsibility for a review of the evidence around poverty reduction in rural areas. The first element of this process was to undertake a review of the international evidence about rural poverty which PPIW published earlier. The review identified four key interrelated dimensions/manifestations of rural poverty:

  • the rural economy;
  • transport and access to services;
  • housing;
  • the rural poverty premium.

Following this overview, the PPIW conducted an initial search of documented evaluations of interventions that have attempted to address these four sets of issues in rural areas which have been shared with the research team.

The final report used existing evidence identified by PPIW alongside additional material identified by the research team. The aim was to document as far as is possible:

  • Which interventions have been successful in addressing the dimensions of rural poverty identified in the PPIW report (did an intervention achieve its objectives?)
  • The relative cost of each intervention
  • The strength of the evidence in relation to each intervention (i.e. how robust is the evaluation evidence?).

On the basis of their analysis, the research team drew out the implications for policy in general and for rural development strategies in Wales in particular.