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Soc. Sci., Volume 2, Issue 3 (September 2013), Pages 114-207

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Research

Open AccessArticle Is Labor a Suitable Input in LCA + DEA Studies? Insights on the Combined Use of Economic, Environmental and Social Parameters
Soc. Sci. 2013, 2(3), 114-130; doi:10.3390/socsci2030114
Received: 14 May 2013 / Revised: 26 June 2013 / Accepted: 1 July 2013 / Published: 5 July 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (192 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Economic, social and environmental dimensions are usually accepted as the three pillars of sustainable development. However, current methodologies for the assessment of the sustainability of product systems fail to cover economic, environmental and social parameters in a single combined approach. Even though the
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Economic, social and environmental dimensions are usually accepted as the three pillars of sustainable development. However, current methodologies for the assessment of the sustainability of product systems fail to cover economic, environmental and social parameters in a single combined approach. Even though the perfect methodology is still far off, this article attempts to provide insights on the potentials of the five-step LCA + DEA method, based on both Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) methodologies, to cope with operational (economic), environmental and social parameters when evaluating multiple similar entities. The LCA + DEA methodology has already been proven to be a suitable approach for the evaluation of a homogenous set of units from an operational and environmental perspective, while allowing the consideration of economic aspects. However, this is the first study focused on the implementation of social parameters in LCA + DEA studies. The suitability of labor as an additional DEA item is evaluated to validate this integrative LCA + DEA concept. Illustrative case studies are used to show the advantages and drawbacks associated with the use of labor in terms of number of workers and number of working hours. In light of the results, the integrative LCA + DEA concept is seen as an all-in-one methodology, which is easy to implement, even though relevant limitations should be discussed in order to guarantee an appropriate interpretation of the social results derived from the proposed method. Full article
Open AccessArticle The European Social Market Model in Crisis: At a Crossroads or at the End of the Road?
Soc. Sci. 2013, 2(3), 131-146; doi:10.3390/socsci2030131
Received: 23 May 2013 / Revised: 19 June 2013 / Accepted: 10 July 2013 / Published: 12 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (833 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The European Union (EU) can be regarded as one economic region and this way its competitiveness can be defined and examined. However, there are huge tensions within the European region that raise questions about whether there exists a European economic region and thus
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The European Union (EU) can be regarded as one economic region and this way its competitiveness can be defined and examined. However, there are huge tensions within the European region that raise questions about whether there exists a European economic region and thus “European competitiveness” at all. Unlike some of its largest competitors, Europe still has not overcome the financial and economic crisis that burst out in 2008. In fact, Europe is now struggling with its own crisis, being rather a new chapter than the natural continuation of the global processes. The whole story of the European integration has been the story of economic and social cohesion. In this respect, there does exist a European social market model. But there is a huge dilemma related to this model that has to be faced: on one hand, high European social standards can only be met if competitiveness is maintained but, on the other hand, these expectations on behalf of European societies appear as a mere disadvantage in cost-competitiveness in the global arena. The issue is complex and calls for balanced and sophisticated thinking. In this sense, European competitiveness is the competitiveness of the whole European social market model—highly challenged these days. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Eurozone Crisis: A Multidisciplinary Perspective)
Open AccessArticle Geographic Concentration and Development Potential of Poultry Microenterprises and Value Chain: A Study Based on Suitable Sites in Gazipur, Bangladesh
Soc. Sci. 2013, 2(3), 147-167; doi:10.3390/socsci2030147
Received: 27 May 2013 / Revised: 16 July 2013 / Accepted: 25 July 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
PDF Full-text (1238 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Bangladesh, many poultry microenterprises (MEs) have flourished through the lending of microcredit to the poor. These MEs are linked to the value chain and play a significant role in poverty reduction. Not all of these MEs are located in favorable places. Almost
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In Bangladesh, many poultry microenterprises (MEs) have flourished through the lending of microcredit to the poor. These MEs are linked to the value chain and play a significant role in poverty reduction. Not all of these MEs are located in favorable places. Almost all are developed utilizing homestead lands, which results in poor input supply and marketing facilities, and causes higher costs and less profit. This paper tries to uncover the constraints in value chain development, mainly those related to its physical and infrastructural environment; verify the potential of MEs through an analysis of their geographic concentration in sites with different suitability levels; and make recommendations as to how to overcome the constraints, with a view to ensuring higher profit levels for vulnerable poor. The suitability of sites was delineated through Geographic Information System (GIS). The analysis—a combination of field survey data with a site suitability map of farms/MEs concentration—is important, because it helps to validate the GIS analysis-based results of sites’ suitability, helps supporters to design interventions in areas where the farms exist, and thus, helps farmers in vulnerable sites to lift themselves out of poverty. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Dearfield Dream Project: Developing an Interdisciplinary Historical/Cultural Research Network
Soc. Sci. 2013, 2(3), 168-179; doi:10.3390/socsci2030168
Received: 12 June 2013 / Revised: 6 August 2013 / Accepted: 13 August 2013 / Published: 16 August 2013
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Abstract
The Dearfield Dream Project is a collaborative research initiative to conduct historical, cultural, archaeological, and environmental studies on the early 20th Century African-American colony site of Dearfield, Colorado, USA. Because the breadth and significance of the Dearfield Project requires an interdisciplinary research team,
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The Dearfield Dream Project is a collaborative research initiative to conduct historical, cultural, archaeological, and environmental studies on the early 20th Century African-American colony site of Dearfield, Colorado, USA. Because the breadth and significance of the Dearfield Project requires an interdisciplinary research team, a network of research collaborators has been assembled. This research network seeks to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge of the site and its surrounding farmsteads’ economic, social, political, and environmental history for better understanding and interpretation of its contributions to Colorado and U.S. history. Herein, we detail progress that has been made on this important historical/cultural research project. Further, we outline the future of the Dearfield research network along with our current and anticipated subjects of inquiry. Full article
Open AccessArticle Breaks and Convergence in U.S. Regional Crime Rates: Analysis of Their Presence and Implications
Soc. Sci. 2013, 2(3), 180-190; doi:10.3390/socsci2030180
Received: 11 July 2013 / Revised: 15 August 2013 / Accepted: 16 August 2013 / Published: 22 August 2013
PDF Full-text (215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The literature examining the relative properties of U.S. regional crime rates is extended. Using a novel method, convergence in alternative classifications of crime is detected over the period 1965 to 2009. Subsequent statistical analysis identifies distinct epochs in the evolution of crime which
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The literature examining the relative properties of U.S. regional crime rates is extended. Using a novel method, convergence in alternative classifications of crime is detected over the period 1965 to 2009. Subsequent statistical analysis identifies distinct epochs in the evolution of crime which match those noted anecdotally in the literature. The findings concerning convergence within these epochs prove interesting, with results found to vary both between the alternative crime classifications and through time. In particular, evidence of divergence is noted which contrasts starkly with other results for earlier and later periods. Potential explanations for the observed results, their importance for policy and their implications for theory and future research are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Self-Efficacy in Social Work: Development and Initial Validation of the Self-Efficacy Scale for Social Workers
Soc. Sci. 2013, 2(3), 191-207; doi:10.3390/socsci2030191
Received: 13 July 2013 / Revised: 21 August 2013 / Accepted: 26 August 2013 / Published: 3 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Self-efficacy beliefs do not reflect a generic sense of competence, but are instead context-specific. Therefore, self-efficacy should be assessed by using an ad hoc scale measuring individual behaviors that allows social workers to exercise influence over events that affect their work life. The
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Self-efficacy beliefs do not reflect a generic sense of competence, but are instead context-specific. Therefore, self-efficacy should be assessed by using an ad hoc scale measuring individual behaviors that allows social workers to exercise influence over events that affect their work life. The present study describes the development and initial validation of the self-efficacy scale for social workers (SESSW). Items were generated through the Critical Incident Technique. Sixteen social workers with at least 10 years of service participated in two focus groups; they were asked to recall critical incidents in their work and to indicate the most effective behaviors to manage the incidents. Content analysis of the focus group transcripts provided 13 key self-efficacy beliefs. The 13-item scale was validated with a sample of 805 social workers. Data were analyzed using a split-sample technique. Exploratory factor analysis on the first split sample (n = 402) revealed three dimensions of self-efficacy, corresponding to emotion regulation, support request, and procedural self-efficacy. The three-factor structure of the scale was further confirmed with confirmatory factor analysis on the second split sample (n = 403). Our results show that SESSW is an adequate instrument for assessment of self-efficacy beliefs in social work. Full article

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