Topic: Exodus or entrepreneurial rebirth? Young generation’s preferences and the socio-economic future of rural areas in Poland
Keywords: entrepreneurialism, young generation, rural areas, social-economic transformation, Poland
Significant changes in structure of national and global economy, such as deindustrialization, expansion of creative economy and new model of industrialized agro production, have resulted in progressing depopulation and rapid aging of many rural areas in European countries (Wilkin, Nurzyńska 2018). One of the most important consequences resulting from these processes is a strong concentration of younger and well-skilled people in big cities and high unemployment rate among local communities living outside of metropolitan areas. Due to the socio-economic changes observed on the Polish rural areas, the state policies aims to limit the demographic and spatial consequences of the ongoing depopulation by implementation of different activities that would create opportunities to restore the local economy and labour market. In our paper, we try to evaluate effectiveness of these policies basing on the results of the research project which was conducted among young citizens residing on the provincial rural areas in Poland. The paper not only discusses the preferences and entrepreneurial skills of the young generation, but also tries to evaluate their suitability for the socio-economic needs of the examined regions. Using the neo-endogenous development approach (Bosworth, Atterton 2012, Ray 2001), we are going to assess opportunities to prevent migrations of young labour force and to strengthen their local identity as well as soft and innovative skills, entrepreneurialism etc. Thanks to that, we would like to answer the question whether it is possible to create a new innovative jobs improving attractiveness of the labour markets on the rural areas and their socio-economic condition. A great emphasis will also be put on the discussion about social barriers and awareness in order to outline recommendations which would be useful to improve effectiveness of local and national policies, and to make the neo-endogenous approach more effective in overcoming socio-economic problems that are met by Poland and other European countries facing with depopulation of the provincial rural areas.