This paper contains a critical reflection on a comparative analysis of rural development processes in Brazil, the European Union and China. It argues that those contextual elements and/or process characteristics that are mostly ignored by a case-study approach (for being more or less invisible and/or for being more or less self-evident) might come to the fore through a comparative approach. Simultaneously, the particular nature of single rural development processes might equally be specified through systematically organized comparisons. In this way, current rural development processes are characterized as a set of responses to market failures - a set of responses that requires and involves the active construction of new, nested markets.
Rural development; Nested markets; Comparative analysis; Brazil; China; European Union