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Special Issue "Innovative Alignments of Economic Incentives with the Environment"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Daniel Hall
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Phillips School of Business, High Point University
Interests: Experimental economics; environmental economics; service learning; service clubs; social capital
Dr. Kingsley Bonsu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Mathematics, Bennett College
Interests: Mathematics and computational modelling; Land use; Production and the Environmental Management; Energy Economics; Biomass and Bioenergy; Soil and Water Conservation
Mr. Eric Howard
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Bryan School of Business, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Interests: Economics of Education; Teacher Effectiveness/Quality; History of Economic Thought; Philosophy and Methodology of Economics; Quantitative Methods and Program Evaluation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Good institutions align self-interest with social interest. For sustainability, individual economic interests must be aligned with social-environmental interests. As more incentives for stakeholders can be met, environmental criteria will more likely be met and at a lower cost.

With the right alignment of incentives, the tradeoff between the environment and economy may be minimal or non-existent. Incentive-based policy solutions (i.e., emissions taxes, tradeable allowances) internalize the external costs of certain economic activities. This simultaneously provides entrepreneurs incentives to find less resource-intensive and environmentally damaging production methods.

With bad incentives, there is no tradeoff, as both the economy and environment are damaged. Centrally planned economies, lacking the protection of individual property rights, have a plethora of poor cases of environmental degradation as well as poor records of economic growth.

These extremes have been well-documented in the literature. For this Special Issue, we welcome theoretical and empirical contributions that explore special cases where the tradeoffs between economy and environment cannot easily be mitigated by traditional large-scale command and control and incentive-based approaches but instead call for innovative alignments of economic incentives with the environment. Multidisciplinary approaches exploring social capital, social norms, decentralized solutions, or institutional reforms are particularly welcome. Manuscripts of valuation methods and tools, helping stakeholders see the value of the environment in economic terms, are also welcome.

Dr. Daniel Hall
Dr. Kingsley Bonsu
Mr. Eric Howard
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Environmental economic and social sustainability
  • Incentive-based policies
  • Decentralized solutions
  • Centralized solutions
  • Institutional reform
  • Social capital
  • Environmental valuation
  • Environmental self-governance

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Contracts to Govern the Transition towards Sustainable Production: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Analysis in the Durum Wheat Sector in Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9441; - 13 Nov 2020
Viewed by 587
The increasing request for food sustainability is affecting the pasta sector in Italy. This phenomenon introduces different sources of uncertainties that, in turn, put pressure on all the stages of the supply chain, with a consequent emerging need for a higher level of [...] Read more.
The increasing request for food sustainability is affecting the pasta sector in Italy. This phenomenon introduces different sources of uncertainties that, in turn, put pressure on all the stages of the supply chain, with a consequent emerging need for a higher level of coordination. Based on the Transaction Costs Theory approach, the paper is aimed at verifying whether contract design—revolving around the negotiation of contractual attributes with different functions in terms of safeguard, adaptability, and coordination—plays a crucial role in aligning sources of uncertainty surrounding transactions with the allocation of property and decision rights. To this aim, a sample of durum wheat producers is interviewed for expressing their preferences about some contractual features, such as price, production and quality rules, sustainable environmental techniques, and advisory services. Using a discrete choice analysis through a multinomial logit model, results reveal that, thanks to the presence of attributes able to ensure coordination and adaptability, contracts are able to steer towards elements of sustainability related to food quality and safety, whereas further efforts are needed to share environmental goals with farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Alignments of Economic Incentives with the Environment)
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