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Andrea Moser, Heike Peter, Birgit Fengler and Renate Strohm-Lömpcke

Abstract

Improving the quality of life is a strategic priority for the European Union (EU), and is, therefore also a stated goal of development policy for rural areas. The EAFRD Regulation provides the legal framework for this policy. As Germany has a federal structure, the federal states of Germany are responsible for implementing the aims of the rural development programmes (RDPs). As each federal state has taken a different approach to improving the quality of life in rural areas, the effects of these programmes differ. Until now, there was no plan for measuring the success of the RDPs. In this article, we will show how the multidimensional concept of quality of life - which was developed in the 1960s and 1970s and has been applied since then - primarily in the social sciences - was turned into a theory-based research concept for evaluating selected RDPs. The focus of the article is on the theoretical derivation and the development of the research concept; concrete results are presented as examples. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die Verbesserung der Lebensqualität durch die EPLR nur in einzelnen Teilbereichen erreicht wurde. The results show that the improvement in quality of life realized by the EPLR was only achieved in individual areas. Across all of the federal states we observed, the greatest positive effects were found in the dimensions “conditions in residential locations” and “personal activities (leisure etc.).”