Intelligences Journal revue en intelligence économique
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A method for auditing economic development policies at a regional level (France)

Maryse Salles


There is a general consensus for the need to assess the impact of national and local government economic policies. This paper proposes a number of elements that can be used in a ‘first level’ audit of a Region’s economic development policy. The text is organised into three sections and is based on the example of the economic development policy adopted by a French Region, focusing on business support grants.
The first section reviews the importance of financial support and the need to evaluate it, while at the same time emphasising the key role information has in both the establishment of the policy and in the assessment of its impact. The second section deals with the information that the Regions use or create to sustain the development of their respective economic policies. This section proposes a three level analysis model. The third section presents the ‘first level’ audit process, as well as an application based on the written documents produced by the Region in question. The goal was to assess the internal consistency of the policies as well as their effectiveness. The audit process is conducted via an analysis using the three-level model as described in the second section.


territorial intelligence, local economic development policy, policy assessment, audit method, local bodies, decision support

Full text


Even though the issue of deficits is extremely sensitive, business support grants represent a considerable sum within both state and territorial authority budgets. If the desire is not (generally) to remove this support, a significant number of stakeholders have spoken about the need for its effectiveness to be evaluated.

This paper proposes elements of a method to be used in the assessment of the stages of overall development and definition in relation to how support at a Regional level is implemented. This we will refer to as an upstream audit for the system of support grants.

The first section will recall the importance, in terms of financial effort, that support grants represent, and the rather negative general opinion of the existing systems of support to companies. The case of the Midi-Pyrénées Region (France) will be used as illustration throughout the text.

The second section focuses on information systems that Regions use or create to back up the processes they follow in developing and implementing business support grants. This section will set out a three level analysis model to take account of the visions of the world that are intrinsic to information systems, visions that are broken down into general principles and then into specific norms.

The same model will also serve as a general framework for the upstream audit approach - the subject of the third section. The audit is composed of three stages involving the assessment of the internal consistency of policies, as well as their operationality, by conducting a three level analysis as detailed in the second section. Examples of such an analysis based on written text from the Midi-Pyrénées Region, accompany the description of the three stages of the audit.

Support grants for companies and an assessment of their impact

The need to assess business support grant systems

Numerous articles, reports, and studies on government business support grants reprehend the ‘no go area’ that the system represents. For instance, in a pre-report on ‘government financial support’ , the French Employment Policy Council cited 2,550 support systems, a figure which it regarded as complicating “systematic assessment, although such work should be considered a priority task”. Support systems are not only criticised for their greatness in number, but also for their “technical opaqueness”. “Poorly known fields”, “copious intervention approaches”, “considerable financial stakes involved”, “multiplicity of objectives pursued” are some of the many characteristics of a ‘modus operandi’ which is looked upon as being excessively complex.

Local Authority financial support has been subjected to the same criticism, “No one knows how many different types of financial support there are for companies”, or even, “The experts cannot make head nor tail of a business support which is being rejected by business people”.

All in all, Local Authorities grant about a third of the fifteen billion euros of government financial support received by companies in France (to the exclusion of payroll tax exemption). Among Local Authorities, Regions account for about 45% of the total financial support allocated.

So there are significant stakes involved, stakes that the French Regions are aware of and which are linked both to the definition of policies focusing on financial support for businesses and to the assessment thereof.

We will show the work that has already been undertaken in the Regions by using the example of the Midi-Pyrénées.

An example: the SRDE (Regional Scheme for Economic Development) in the Midi-Pyrénées Region

In the Midi-Pyrénées, business support grants are ‘referred to’ in a general document, the ‘Schéma Régional de Développement Economique’ (SRDE), which lays out the overall framework for the Region’s economic policy as directed by the law of 13th August 2004. Two successive SRDEs (2006, 2011) were produced after a period of consultation. The SRDE provides access for regional stakeholders to a comprehensive document (available on the Region’s website) which sets forth the global vision within the framework of the Region’s economic policy. It also defines the main strategy directions, the latter being organised into axes and action plans which are then translated into measures and finally actions.

In the SRDE, policy assessment, and more broadly, the regional piloting system, is one of the four areas included in a comprehensive strategic plan entitled, ‘Collaboration, partnership, encouragement: running and coordinating a regional piloting and assessment system’.

While the need for such an assessment has been understood perfectly, the details of its implementation have yet to be fixed. The Region is quite aware of the extent and complexity of the work ahead, and it has therefore decided to seek help from researchers in the field. In its 2007 request for project proposals, a key action was defined in relation to the “assessment of new policies presented within the SRDE”. This measure took firm shape under the ‘CAVALA project’, which is aimed at developing a cooperative method in order to define assessment indicators in support of the Region’s economic development actions (Salles, 2010).

Whether it relates to a system of piloting or a procedure for assessment, information represents a key element.

To elaborate their policy and then implement it, the Region thus needs to be aware of the regional industrial base, where companies are located on its territory, available research skills, population distribution, companies financial condition, fields of activity, employment areas, etc. In order to assess the impact of business-focused actions, a Region should define a set of indicators and identify the means by which they can inform these indicators.

In one or other of these configurations, departments have been using available information systems which have been prepared by other institutions, often at a national level (in particular the statistics from INSEE).

These information systems consist of units of information (a company, an establishment, a sector, etc.), each described using a completed group of headings (example, for an establishment: address, staff, activities, etc.) and drawing on predefined nomenclatures (for activities, products, territories, etc.).

As in every information system, the choice of the units of information and their structure, like the choice of nomenclatures used, constitute an equivalent number of ‘required routes’ or of de facto norms that will be binding on the users of these systems.

The following section is given over to the available information systems relating to companies for the reason that they contain specific representations of the economy, and in consequence are likely to influence Regional development policies.

Information systems relating to companies and economic life

Information systems seen as languages

Following Jean-Louis Le Moigne’s broad canonical definition (Le Moigne, 1973), we regard IS as “a meaningful formal or informal set of symbols circulating within an organisation”. This definition thus equates the information system with a language, understood as the capacity to express ‘reality’ in a form that may be shared by all members of a given community. The information system therefore appears as a system which allows the formalisation of views of the world. On that basis, it is not a system that objectively expresses an imminent reality, but a social construction, reflecting a set of representations which refer to paradigmatic or ideological choices. Referring to public accounting ‘objects’, (Desrosières, 2003) thus puts forward the hypothesis according to which “quantification does not reflect reality, but rather contributes to shaping it, transforming it, or even creating it”.

As a shared representations formalisation system, an organisation’s information system, and especially its computerised part (which is a subset of the IS), also constitutes a means of making such formalisations operational through particular codifications.

When it comes to public organisations and especially the state, the need to establish a social order has been linked to the creation of a common language along with its introduction into descriptive systems in order to guide public actions (Desrosières, 1993). This common language is expressed “either through legal categories (the justice perspective), or through norms and standards (the economic management and efficiency perspective)”. The nomenclatures used in public statistics are a typical example of such norms.

Structure of Information: a Three Level Analysis Model

The Level of Representations (Views of the World, Doxai)

By continuing the line of reasoning from the previous section, we hypothesise that the norms, as for all consensus-based or conventional codifications, are well situated in time and social space, and therefore convey ‘visions of the world’ or representations (Salles, 2007) which can be compared here to doxai .

Representations of a company have thus evolved over time, moving from the vision of a company as having production as its main function to that of a player on the market and finally to that of a place where profit is earned for its owners and its investors. This latter representation of a company as ‘liquid assets’ stems from new accounting norms which consider the value of a company to be calculated, not on the basis of its history, but on its market worth at any given moment in time, i.e. its ‘fair value’ (Kotz, 2007).

The SRDE explicitly expresses the Region’s will to embark on ‘a competitive course of action’ against other territories (national or international). This view, which is never debated, nor questioned, constitutes the only relational mode envisaged for territories. This vision of generalised competition between territories is that which has been forged and transmitted by such organisations as OECD, IMF and the World Bank. This perspective is often reinforced by an equivalence which has been established between attractiveness and competitiveness. Thus a territory can be implicitly considered as a potential recipient of pre-existing and mobile external resources (investments, competences, etc.), which leads to its development becoming dependent on its ability to attract these resources more effectively than other territories, in essence its competitors (Colletis, 2009). Many cases show that there is no equivalence between attractiveness and competitiveness (if we take the example of Germany, to cite but one, since it attracts fewer foreign investments than other countries which are relatively less competitive). We will examine the consequences of such a representation in section 3.

Another example concerns the contrast between different sectors, which, in the wording of regional policies are frequently considered as either being intrinsically ‘traditional’ or on the other hand, ‘high-tech’. And yet, such a dichotomy poses obvious problems (what of the textile industry, said to be a ‘traditional sector’, when we are talking about the production of technical textiles?). The contrast between ‘traditional sectors’ and ‘high-tech’ reflects a representation used in the work of the Ministry of Industry during the 70s and 80s when examining specialisations within the French economy (Stoffaes, 1978), a vision which has been subsequently passed on by INSEE.

In terms of economic policies, the various doxai bring about totally different modes of action, even to the point where they are opposed to one another, and lead to diverging objectives and indicators (Salles & Colletis, 2008).

The Level of Principles (Models, Methods, Rationales for Action)

Our second hypothesis is that the passage a representation takes before becoming a norm is not direct, but happens via general principles or intermediate models. These principles can be interpreted as representations that have been in part formalised or as norms that are generic. The principles, which are more explicit and more operational than representations, constitute the methods for defining the norms: rules in establishing the typologies and classifications, choice of information entities within the information systems, rationales for action, etc.

The principles are expressed in particular via information systems. Economic information systems are the result of a very long history (Volle, 1982) which has followed the history of the development of representations for the economy and the company. It is possible to distinguish three stages in this history that relate to the development of the unit of information, the development of a set of headings chosen to describe the unit and the development of accepted nomenclatures (Salles & Colletis, 2007).

The first stage involves structuring the economic information systems in meso-economic terms, i.e. branches and sectors (the company does not appear as a distinct entity). The second stage moves the information systems towards a micro-economics level, i.e. that of the company. It has been affected by different reorientations that match the slide that occurred with the advent of the change in the dominant aspect of company, i.e. from having the function of production to being a player in the market to being a place where profit is earned for owners and investors. These various aspects relate to the set of different headings used in the description of a company. The last aspect, that of the financialisation of companies, coincides with the beginning of the third stage which is conspicuous for its focus on coordination and globalisation, the latter giving rise to new information entities (the group, companies networks). The logic behind the nomenclatures for activities has followed the dominant representations of the economy; the activities are successively classified according to the ‘natural’ origins of the product (animal, vegetable, mineral), according to their destinations, according to the production techniques and finally by adhering to a sectoral rationale (Salles & Colletis, 2007).

In the case of territorial development policies, the principles will enable the creation of a framework for the implementation of the main strategic directions. For example, they will be expressed in terms of zoning or activity aggregation (adopting the INSEE principles or defining other principles?), in terms of delineating the territory or in terms of the business support grant rationale (on the basis of support or encouragement?; of instruments or inversely, on the basis of the overall project?; the definition or non definition of conditionality criteria?).

The Level of Norms

The level of norms represents the most operational level of information. It is created through the application of the previous level’s principles, models and methods.

In information systems, the level of norms is the most ‘visible’.

To enable firm action, the rationales developed at the earlier levels (representation and principles) give rise to procedures, norms and specific frames of reference - all required by operational stakeholders. As we mentioned above, the representation of a company as ‘liquid assets’ leads to new accounting norms. In economic information systems, the principle of aggregating activities results in completed lists of sectors or of products from which we must inevitably draw upon to define certain codes (example, defining the APE ‘Activité Principale de l’Entreprise’ [principal business activity] code when a company starts or providing information for customs forms based on the nomenclature of products).

In the case of Regional development policies, we can (or rather we should be able to) identify these norms in the lists of priority sectors or fields, in the lists of territories, definitions (what exactly does a Region mean when it uses the term ‘field with growth potential’?), in the eligibility and conditionality criteria, etc. It is also at this level of norms that the assessment indicators for particular actions are (or should be) defined (lists of indicators, ranges of values, how the indicators are informed and interpretation method).

In the final section of this paper, by basing ourselves on this three level model (representations, principles, norms), we will suggest the necessary elements for undertaking an initial audit of business support grant policies, an audit based on the analysis of documents that set out these policies.

Elements of an audit approach for the assessment system

The following elements are intended to support an upstream audit (i.e. dealing with the stages of design and definition of the implementation modes) for a Region’s policies in terms of economic development and in particular, in terms of grants to businesses.

This audit uses the model as described in the previous section and has two main objectives:

  • to assess the internal consistency of these policies via the different levels of presentation (strategic directions, the organisation of actions, definite allocation procedures, eligibility criteria, impact indicators, etc),

  • and consequently, to assess to what extent they can be applied effectively.

We will illustrate our point by using examples from the Midi-Pyrénées Region SRDE.

Stage 1: level of representations (doxai)

The first stage in the decision-making process for business support grants is the definition of the policy directions of the territorial authority in terms of economic development. In the past these directions were not always formalised and occasionally they were not even explicit. However, in order to make an action coherent and effective, (and its impact measureable), a public body must carry out the task of clarification. This type of effort was made by the Midi-Pyrénées Region in the elaboration of both of its ‘Schéma Régional de Développement Economique’ (SRDE).

Contents of the audit

Here the audit should respond to different questions:

  • have the doxai that were used in expressing the main strategic directions been explained clearly?

  • what are the prevailing doxai (i.e. those created by other institutions) that stand out in the text (in general without any real explanation)?

  • are the representations consistent with each other?

  • are the representations consistent with the expressed strategic objectives?


In the SRDE that we analysed, the majority of the representations were not clearly explained, which is very usual for this type of document. Thus we cannot find a definition of what constitutes the Region’s vision in terms of space (how global space, national space, European space is delineated), and in terms of activity aggregations (sectors, branches, fields).

However, we can identify a certain number of prevailing doxai that have come from other institutions by way of a group of key notions. Amongst those we will refer to some examples that relate to the competition between territories, the representation of space and finally, the transfer of technology.

Competition between territories

The competitive rationale as a predetermining, even unique mode for the relationships between territories occurs widely throughout the whole of the text. This vision, as has been shown in paragraph 2.2.1, is that held by large dominant institutions and carries with it a vision of a single territory acting as a potential recipient of pre-existing resources. Neither questioned nor examined at any stage in the document from the Region this perspective has even been explicitly reinforced in the confirmation that “there can be no economic competitiveness if there is no attractiveness within the relevant territories”. Therefore, if a representation based on competitiveness is dominant, by contrast, very few mentions are made of partnership projects with other territories.

Representations of space

The representations of world space that we can identify in the SRDE are essentially implicit, although the relationship the Midi-Pyrénées region has with the rest of the world must be considered vital for its development and is the object of one of the four expressed strategic directions (‘Thinking and acting at an international level’). Spatial levels take up those levels that are the most currently documented: infra-regional, regional, national, European and international. Apart from the infra-regional level, these levels have rarely been defined. The only French or European regions that have been cited by name are cited for reasons of competition (cf. supra). The national level is very rarely referred to outside of the evaluation found in the SRDE, where it is used as a quasi-exclusive basis for comparison, that is, according to our analysis model, holding the status of a norm. This representation of a world space that we could, at the undoubted risk of over simplifying, summarise as being the contrast between a region and a ‘lumped together’ rest of the world, demonstrates a certain consistency with the competitive rationale that was emphasised above.

Transfer of technology

Finally, the vision of technology, through the management of its transfer, corresponds to that of a resource transferable as is. This is the representation employed by the state in dealing with large research bodies (ex. CNRS), but also by the Regions via the CRITTs1. A rival vision would be that of a technology which is not a transferable resource, but which in contrast, is the outcome of an innovative process involving the coordinated efforts of several types of stakeholder. Consequently, technology is the result of an unspecified process (and not a linear process as in the case of the transfer).

The small number of explicit representations, along with the implicit use of unquestioned or untested dominant representations ‘naturally’ leads to risks of inconsistency between the different strategic directions or inconsistency within one direction.

Thus, by way of example, the act of giving over a full strategic direction to international development could seem to go against the representation of a ‘lumped together’ world space and against the types of relationship with other territories that adhere exclusively to the competitive rationale.

Stage 2: level of principles

In the second stage, the strategic directions require, in preparation for their implementation, to be transformed into formalised axes and objectives, into guiding principles for each action and into methods for defining the typologies or for determining the sets of indicators.

The breakdown of the directions into axes, projects and business support grant procedures is based on principles, occasionally partially explicit, but more often than not underlying, that relate to the relevant ‘objects’ within territorial economic development:

  • the basic economic unit under consideration (independent company, subsidiary company within a group, the group itself) and its situation (type of sector, fields of activity, domains, company profiles, etc).

  • the stakeholders (economic stakeholders or other stakeholders such as universities, research labs for large public bodies, etc.) and how they are coordinated (all the different sorts of networks, contracts, etc).

  • the rationale behind the business grant systems (support or encouragement),

  • the development and attractiveness models for the territory,

  • and what structure to give to a territorial information system or to a policy assessment procedure.

Contents of the audit

The audit as set out here is to check:

  • the clarity of these principles and their completeness,

  • their conformance with the representations as noted in the SRDE’s strategic directions,

  • their conformance with the strategic directions themselves


Some results of the work of transposing the strategic directions are accessible in the second volume of the SRDE (2006).

We will study three of the ‘objects’ referred to earlier: the basic economic unit (by linking it to the question of its insertion into wider aggregations), the business support grant system and finally, the system for assessing the support grants.

Economic units under consideration

As far as the basic economic units that have been taken into account are concerned, the SRDE represents a significant change compared with previous schemes. Indeed more often than not in the past these schemes focused on one or other facets of the company so that the latter was perceived according to a particular function or via a number of functions; this was reflected in specific mechanisms (export function with the FRAEX2, production function with the FDPME3. The axes and the principles behind the actions contained in the SRDE now deal with a group of units which has been widened appreciably: sector and field, business network, group, company (presently considered in its entirety). This perspective, which has been very much enriched and detailed, is however limited because of the absence of consideration for the principles needed to establish the chosen activity aggregations (sectors, domains and fields).

Although it is shown, for example, that “complementing the regional means of production for those sectors identified as being strategic” must be adhered to, the list of these sectors, along with the criteria for defining them, still needs to be established. Similarly, the terms ‘domain’ and ‘sector’ are unreliable within the document, reflecting levels of aggregation that change from one occurrence of the term to the next. Those sectors that have been designated by name are done so exclusively according to the INSEE nomenclatures, and yet we know that these are not totally satisfactory for emerging activities. All companies are generally considered in a similar way, that is, with no typology used in the definition of their profile4. Here we can make an initial inconclusive evaluation: certain principles are relatively explicit (the need to deal with a company in its entirety), whilst others are not well enough defined (the methods used in determining activity aggregations and company profiles).

A system for support grants

The rationale behind the grant support system however has been described in detail and has now taken on the confirmed status of a formalised method (model). The break with the previous system (‘payment upfront logic’, focusing on support mechanisms) has been achieved, leaving room for a global rationale focusing on projects which will be supported using different mechanisms. At this point we are talking about a genuine engineering of business support grants and no longer about allocation procedures which are specific to each grant. The notion of the grant is clearly explained; it is consistent with strategic directions and seen as an encouragement (having to effect the reorientation of a business trajectory) rather than as a support (for trajectories to be maintained as are).

A system for assessment

Finally, even though the system for assessment has been mentioned several times in the strategic directions and constitutes an axis for strategic direction 4, it has not yet given rise to any principles or methods. Only a small number of the actions presented in volume 2 of the SRDE are accompanied by assessment indicators and there is no clear typology for any of the indicators that do appear.

Level of norms

The final stage that we will refer to in connection with this paper is that dealing with the definition of the operational procedures for the ‘on the ground’ implementation of the SRDE measures. This supposes that the developed principles lead to these procedures, as well as the associated norms required by the operational stakeholders.

If such work is not undertaken, there will be two major risks to worry about. The first is that in the absence of a method for defining such and such object (activity aggregation, territory, etc.) the de facto norms that make up the information systems created by large national organisations gain recognition within a regional context, despite their relative inadequacy. By way of illustration, we need to recall the fact that the evaluation presented in the first part of the SRDE for the Midi-Pyrénées Region is almost entirely based on the INSEE national level categories (sectors, territorial zoning). The second risk is that, in the absence of a specific framework, there are too many variations in implementation depending on which operational stakeholders are involved. The manifested desire to call upon project managers from outside the Region for certain types of action has accentuated this risk.

Contents of the audit

At this level the audit has the following objectives:

  • to check the existence of norms for the following two cases in point:

  • in the case where the principles were identified at the previous level: check that the norms and operational procedures have been developed accordingly

  • in the case where the principles are absent or inadequately defined: identify the norms that can be used spontaneously and implicitly by the operational stakeholders,

  • to check the consistency of the norms (developed explicitly or likely to be ‘imported’) relative to the two previous levels (representations and principles)

  • to check the consistency of the norms relative to the strategic directions and the actions as defined in the SRDE.


The system of support grants itself, which gave rise to an explicitation of the rationale behind it (level of principles), could have brought about the development of norms. It is important to recall that when the focus is on the successful allocation of the grants and on the later stages, where the codification of the norms led to this allocation, following up and assessing the grants should be organised according to specific types of companies, lists of sectors or fields, lists of territories (infra or supra regional, with a view to partnerships or positioned as competitors) and sets of indicators. This on-going task has moved forward in unequal measure according to the different axes and actions within the SRDE, and still remains very limited.

However, exogenous norms do appear, especially those developed by the state, the EU and INSEE within the framework of the principles as mentioned in the previous section. Their limitations in taking account of new issues (combinatorial trans-sectoral activities, spatial dynamics) reflect de facto the responsibility (or privilege) placed on the regional stakeholders to describe the new ‘objects’. The absence of principles to help in their definition, a point we have mentioned in the previous section, here results in an absence of lists providing practical examples of these ‘objects’ in practical terms. The notions of ‘a company with export potential’, ‘specific and rarely used know-how’, ‘a field with growth potential’, ‘strategic sector’ or even ‘strategic project’ are thus neither defined nor illustrated.

Overall, few procedures, frames of reference or completed norms can be identified.

GEM frames of reference

Two specific norms are noted in the SRDE: one frame of reference (effectively incomplete) for the assessment of the economic performance of a territory, and a set of indicators for the assessment of business actions.

The only frame of reference mentioned as such in the SRDE is the GEM5, which is meant to “measure the development in regional economic performance and its positioning in relation to other ‘challenging’ regions”.

It has to be stressed here that this monitoring reference has been developed with a view to assessing entrepreneurship in countries and regions, thus allowing the evaluation of promoting factors. The issue of entrepreneurship evaluation only partly overlaps that of overall regional economic performance. Moreover, the GEM exogenous frame of reference reflects representations of entrepreneurship that are not identified in the document.

Here the risk of an uncontrolled importation of representations and principles which are potentially contradictory to the axes and directions defined by the Region, even when it concerns assessing their impact, appears considerable.

Assessment indicators for the actions

The indicators that have been defined to measure the impact of actions or activities make up a norm par excellence. When it concerns an overall assessment, the successive breakdowns in relation to the axes for action, from the representations to the principles, and then to the procedures and the norms for implementation, are reduced to a set (limited by definition) of variables and aggregated indicators which are supposed to represent them in their entirety. It can be noted that national institutions have developed very few detailed indicators, and the use of LOLF ‘Loi Organique relative aux Lois de Finances’ applications by state departments are still very recent and have shown themselves to be disappointing for this area of study. The Region has an obligation to develop its own assessment tools which are not really able to take their inspiration from pre-existing frames of reference. The indicators associated with ‘action plan’ in the SRDE are generally few in number (and also missing from numerous measures), they show considerable variation in aggregation levels and are essentially focused on measuring the effort made and not the achieved results. What indicators of impact that can be found are still expressed in an overly general way, they are not easily quantifiable and they only very partially reflect the described objectives. The work required in creating instruments for measuring the achievement of objectives for the large part still remains to be completed. It is to be noted that this case is quite widespread in the local authorities (Joerin, 2008).


In this paper we have stressed the economic importance of business support grants and the urgent need to assess their effectiveness, a need which is still not being adequately met. Taking into account the newness of regional institutions, we proposed to evaluate the development of support policies and more generally, to evaluate territorial economic development policies.

In order to successfully undertake such an audit, an ad hoc model was constructed for the analysis of the text containing the policies of the Region. This model has three levels to express the policies: the level of representations, the level of principles and the level of norms. The upstream audit method relies on this model in the assessment of the consistency of the policies, and consequently, their ability to be implemented on the ground. On the one hand, the audit attempts to identify the explicit existence of the three levels presented in this paper (representations, principles and norms), whilst on the other it attempts to verify the consistency (internal consistency at each level, overall consistency between each level).

The work relates to Regional policy piloting systems that are part of territorial intelligence. Specifically, the work focuses on the "upstream" of the formation of the control or decision system. As such, research can also enroll in the requirements engineering for decision support systems, especially for the phase of "early requirements" (Fuxman et al., 2004)6. The adaptation of three-level model for the early requirements analysis is the subject of our current work.


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1  Centres Régionaux d'Innovation et de Transfert de Technologie (Regional Center for Innovation and Technology Transfer)

2  Fonds Régional d'Aide à l'Exportation (Regional Fund for Exportation Suppor)

3  Fonds de Développement des PME (Development Fund for SMEs)

4  For SMEs typologies, see Salles, Maryse, "Stratégies des PME et intelligence économique. Une méthode d'analyse du besoin", 2ème éd., Paris, Economica, 2006, or Moati P. & Pouquet L., "La diversité des logiques productives dans les PMI", Cahier de Recherche, janvier 1997, n° C98, CREDOC (Centre de Recherche pour l’Étude et l'Observation des Conditions de Vie)

5 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (

6  Early requirements include the understanding of the application domain, the study of the organization's strategic objectives, the audit Strength-Weakness-Opportunities of the existing system, and the identification of internal and external stakeholders.

To cite this document :

Maryse Salles, «A method for auditing economic development policies at a regional level (France) », Intelligences Journal [En ligne], Number 1 , Full text issues , URL :


Maryse Salles
IRIT (SIG/EVI) Université de Toulouse (UT1), 2, Rue du Doyen Gabriel Marty, 31042 Toulouse Cedex 9 France