Inderscience Publishers

Quantifying public perceptions on socio-economic development – an example from the Aysen Watershed, Chile

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Stakeholders are increasingly being involved in decision-making on environmental management and development issues. In this paper we explore the gap between governmental development planning and people's needs and aspirations in the Aysen Fjord, Chile, an area that is experiencing rapid economic growth. The coastal area of the region is expected to hold 70% of the future expansion of Chilean salmon aquaculture. A questionnaire was submitted to 13-14 year-old students attending the public schools of the area. It aimed at evaluating how much the priorities of the regional government plan of development fit the priorities of the youth part of the population concerning the socio-economic development of the area. Answers were analysed with statistical multivariate methods including clustering and permutation techniques. The results show that there is a relevant gap between the ongoing policy and students' expectations.

Keywords: questionnaires, economic development, regional development planning, participation, Chile, decision making, environmental management, government planning, needs, aspirations, expectations, youth, young people, socio-economic development

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