Special Issue "Economic Growth, Energy Consumption and Sustainable Development: The Case of Mediterranean Region"

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: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Gianni Betti
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Economics and Statistics, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Interests: sustainability indicators, poverty and inequality; sustainable economic growth; quality of life; PRIMA Programme
Prof. Simone Bastianoni
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth, Environmental and Physical Sciences, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Interests: sustainability indicators (e.g., based on emergy evaluation, ecological footprint, life cycle assessment, exergy analysis, etc.); application of thermodynamics to ecological systems and of kinetic models to systems of environmental relevance; PRIMA Programme
Prof. Angelo Riccaboni
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business and Law, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Interests: sustainability indicators; governance and management control issues in a social and environmental perspective; the role of organizations and universities to promote sustainable innovations; PRIMA Programme

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue has the aim to collect a selection of homogenous papers on the relationship between economic growth, energy consumption and sustainable development, with a special focus on the Mediterranean region.

Research papers address the construction of indicators of sustainability, such as sustainable development goals (SDGs) related indicators, emergy, ecological footprint, sustainable welfare and quality of life; moreover, two important issues covered by the papers are governance and management control issues in social and environmental perspectives; the role of organizations and universities to promote sustainable innovations will also be included.

Finally, the Special Issue addresses papers from the PRIMA project, the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area, which will devise new R&I (research and investments) approaches to improve water availability and sustainable agriculture production in a region heavily distressed by climate change, urbanization and population growth.

Prof. Simone Bastianoni
Prof. Gianni Betti
Prof. Angelo Riccaboni
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com 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 1800 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.

Keywords

  • sustainability indicators
  • emergy evaluation, ecological footprint
  • poverty and inequality
  • sustainable economic growth
  • quality of life
  • PRIMA Programme

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Spillover Effect of US Industrial Subsidies on China’s Exports
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072938 - 07 Apr 2020
Abstract
This study systematically assessed the spillover effects of US industrial subsidy policies on China’s export by matching all related bills issued by the US federal and state governments since 2009 with the affected products exported from China. In general, the US subsidy policies [...] Read more.
This study systematically assessed the spillover effects of US industrial subsidy policies on China’s export by matching all related bills issued by the US federal and state governments since 2009 with the affected products exported from China. In general, the US subsidy policies created a significant obstacle for Chinese exporters entering the US market. In addition, the industry-level analysis indicated that the subsidy policy has the most significant negative spillover effect on mid- and high-tech products, and no significant impact on resource-based and low-tech export products. Furthermore, we explored the mechanism and found that the US subsidies lower the domestic export prices of the affected products, thereby having a larger negative impact on the entry of mid- and high-tech products entering the US market. The implementation of the US subsidy increased the export competitiveness of mid- and high-tech products in domestic market, which helped such US firms expand their international markets. Therefore, we offer targeted suggestions in order to create a fair and reasonable business environment for Chinese exporters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Objective Environmental Indicators and Subjective Well-Being: Are They Directly Related?
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062277 - 14 Mar 2020
Abstract
This paper discusses how objective environmental indicators affect the measure of a country’s well-being. The dependent variable in the analysis is subjective well-being (WB), for which the objective environmental variable we use is per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The paper [...] Read more.
This paper discusses how objective environmental indicators affect the measure of a country’s well-being. The dependent variable in the analysis is subjective well-being (WB), for which the objective environmental variable we use is per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The paper refers to the relationship between subjective well-being and a set of objective variables representing the four basic types of capital to satisfy human needs and to ensure the well-being of future generations based on the ecological economic systems. Implementing different mediation models, estimated using structural equation modeling, we discover that the objective environmental variable does not directly affects the country’s subjective well-being, while, according to different models, the mediated effects are statistically significant in explaining subjective well-being. The surprising results lead us to think that the environmental risks related to CO2 emissions might not be correctly perceived by the public. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Stochastic Dominance Approach to Evaluating Pro-Poor Growth—An Application to the Spanish Case
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1728; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051728 - 25 Feb 2020
Abstract
In this paper, we analyze, in a novel way, the nature of economic growth in Spain after the Great Recession, in relation to its effect on poverty reduction. We use a statistical test to analyze the pro-poorness nature of economic growth using a [...] Read more.
In this paper, we analyze, in a novel way, the nature of economic growth in Spain after the Great Recession, in relation to its effect on poverty reduction. We use a statistical test to analyze the pro-poorness nature of economic growth using a stochastic dominance approach, not used in this context so far. We decompose changes in the difference in generalized Lorenz ordinates into a growth effect and an inequality effect and apply this to formal Spanish income data statistical tests based on dominance methods. We found that growth was pro-poor in Spain as a whole between 2013 and 2017. As regards regional growth effects, we conclude that growth was weakly pro-poor in seven of Spain’s 17 regions, it was neither pro-poor nor anti-poor in nine regions, and only weakly anti-poor in one region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study of the Relationship between Government Expenditures and Economic Growth for China and Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226344 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
On October 18, 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the blueprint for building a modernized socialist nation through the realization of the Xiao Kang (every nation enjoys a peaceful and affluent life; it is meaningless to eliminate the poor) social construction at the [...] Read more.
On October 18, 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the blueprint for building a modernized socialist nation through the realization of the Xiao Kang (every nation enjoys a peaceful and affluent life; it is meaningless to eliminate the poor) social construction at the 19th Congress of China. Subsequent to the 2008 financial crisis, the world has moved on to the new economic status of the “new normal”. China has also entered the era of Xinchang Thai, which is moving from the high-growth to the moderate-growth phase. Therefore, the government of China emphasizes privatization, liberalization, and deregulation. China is also influenced by government policies due to the nature of socialism. This study confirms China’s current stage of economic development, based on Barro’s theory. Thus, we use a quantile regression model and examine the correlation between economic growth and functional classification of government expenditure during Xi Jinping’s term of office. Furthermore, we selected Korea as a comparative country, as the two countries have common features. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Energy and Environmental Flows: Do Most Financialised Countries within the Mediterranean Area Export Unsustainability?
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3736; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133736 - 09 Jul 2019
Abstract
The literature dedicated to the problems of transboundary pollution often aims to verify what the environmental and energy interactions between countries are. Little attention is paid to the financial relations of the phenomenon. We analyze how financial, environmental and energy flows have been [...] Read more.
The literature dedicated to the problems of transboundary pollution often aims to verify what the environmental and energy interactions between countries are. Little attention is paid to the financial relations of the phenomenon. We analyze how financial, environmental and energy flows have been redistributed within the main Mediterranean countries, with particular reference to pollution. Applying advanced methods of correlation, we verify the dynamics of transfer processes with the aim of assessing whether the link between economic and financial and environmental flows might support the hypothesis that rich countries export environmental emissions to poor ones. Our results show that richer countries have a significant propensity to export energy, financial flows and polluting emissions. The imbalance is even greater for emissions with local impact. This process is accompanied by a substantial increase in the financial activities of the North Mediterranean countries to the detriment of those of the South, which progressively increase their indebtedness. We find out that the economic and financial development of the North Med is accompanied by an increasing environmental impact measured by the various types of emissions covered by our study. The research shows how the most industrialized countries of the Mediterranean area are increasing the economic and financial gap with respect to the Southern Mediterranean countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Investment Attractiveness of Projects on the Basis of Environmental Factors
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2544; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092544 - 01 May 2019
Cited by 17
Abstract
This article is devoted to the creation of intelligent modelling tools for decision support in the evaluation of intellectual projects submitted for financing, as based on qualitatively defined characteristics. The economic and mathematical models that form the basis of the toolkit are constructed [...] Read more.
This article is devoted to the creation of intelligent modelling tools for decision support in the evaluation of intellectual projects submitted for financing, as based on qualitatively defined characteristics. The economic and mathematical models that form the basis of the toolkit are constructed using the mathematical apparatus of fuzzy logic, which allows for the description of poorly structured knowledge of specialists, as well as their application in solving questions about the extent of the impact of the proposed projects on the environment. The authors classify investment projects according to the degree of impact on the environment, the environmental criteria required by the investor for the evaluation of investment projects, and the formal formulation of the problem of evaluation of investment projects when taking into account the environmental factor. The toolkit was created based on the concept of intellectualization, where economic and mathematical models for the evaluation of investment projects are programmatically implemented via the tools and functions available in the MATLAB package. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On the Relationship between Innovation Activity and Manufacturing Upgrading of Emerging Countries: Evidence from China
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051309 - 02 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Most research into the relationship between innovation activity and manufacturing upgrading has been conducted in developed economies, such as the countries of North America and Europe. Due to the non-replicability of the developed countries’ development modes, most emerging countries cannot directly copy the [...] Read more.
Most research into the relationship between innovation activity and manufacturing upgrading has been conducted in developed economies, such as the countries of North America and Europe. Due to the non-replicability of the developed countries’ development modes, most emerging countries cannot directly copy the manufacturing upgrading path of the developed countries. However, knowledge about the relationship between innovation activity and manufacturing upgrading in emerging economies remains limited. This paper sheds light on the relationship between innovation activity and manufacturing upgrading in emerging countries from the following three types of innovation, namely, technical innovation, product innovation, and institutional innovation. By using data from Chinese provinces for the period 2001–2015, this paper empirically investigates the relationship between innovation activity and manufacturing upgrading in emerging countries. The results show that technical innovation, product innovation, and institutional innovation have significantly positive driving-force effects on manufacturing upgrading, which indicates that innovation is an important source of promoting manufacturing upgrading for emerging countries. Moreover, the effect above is more prominent for technical innovation. The results are resilient to the alternative indicators of innovation and the alternative indicators of manufacturing upgrading. This paper provides a theoretical and empirical reference for conducting innovation-incentive policy and promoting the optimization of manufacturing structure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Renewable Energy Production, Energy Consumption and Sustainable Economic Growth in Turkey: A VECM Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051273 - 28 Feb 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
There exists a highly interrelated relationship between energy, the environment and growth where the efficient management of this nexus is not only a must for sustainable development and human wellbeing but is also a basis for formulating sound economic policies harnessed with energy [...] Read more.
There exists a highly interrelated relationship between energy, the environment and growth where the efficient management of this nexus is not only a must for sustainable development and human wellbeing but is also a basis for formulating sound economic policies harnessed with energy and environmental policies. Thus, this paper aims at investigating the causal relationships among renewable energy production, total energy consumption and economic growth for Turkey both in the long and short runs. The analyses are conducted by using the Johansen–Juselius co-integration test, the vector error correction model, Granger causality, impulse-response functions and variance decomposition for the period 1980–2016. Our findings obtained for the causal relationship between renewable energy and economic growth points to a bidirectional relationship both in the short and in long runs that promote feedback hypothesis, and it also reports a causal relationship running from energy consumption to economic growth both in the short and long runs, supporting the growth hypothesis. However, no consistent result could be obtained for the short run relationship from economic growth to energy consumption. These results indicate that increased renewable energy production and decreased energy consumption are vital for Turkey’s sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Management Approach Towards Sustainability: An Egyptian Business Case Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051244 - 26 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Several studies have focused mainly on the following approach to tackle sustainable development issues at the management level: single sustainability managerial tools adoption (e.g., sustainable balance scorecard) and the “overlap” process between traditional management practices and sustainability-oriented ones. Conversely, integration as an “alignment” [...] Read more.
Several studies have focused mainly on the following approach to tackle sustainable development issues at the management level: single sustainability managerial tools adoption (e.g., sustainable balance scorecard) and the “overlap” process between traditional management practices and sustainability-oriented ones. Conversely, integration as an “alignment” process between different sustainability management practices represents a research field, which is currently underinvestigated. Filling this gap, the purpose of the present study is to deepen and find empirical evidence on how sustainability management accounting, control, and reporting systems can be integrated through an alignment process. To this aim, we focused our analysis on a Mediterranean holding company, which is a well-known sustainable corporate practitioner to foster sustainable development in a socioeconomic and environmental problematic context. Therefore, we developed a single business case study analyzing an Egyptian firm to give practical evidence on the role of management accounting, control, and reporting practices in addressing sustainability issues. The analysis shows that the aligning process of different management practices involves a plurality of business aspects to manage, among them cultural and organizational ones. Despite its complexity, such a process is fundamental to pursue medium–long-term goals, ensuring sustainable firm growth and social wellbeing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Development Goals Indicators: A Methodological Proposal for a Multidimensional Fuzzy Index in the Mediterranean Area
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1198; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041198 - 24 Feb 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
This paper describes a methodology for the construction of a multidimensional index for sustainability assessment in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda. The methodology is designed to properly capture the multidimensional nature of sustainable development and [...] Read more.
This paper describes a methodology for the construction of a multidimensional index for sustainability assessment in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda. The methodology is designed to properly capture the multidimensional nature of sustainable development and the SDG framework, introducing an innovative Fuzzy Multidimensional Index to measure the performance of Mediterranean countries. The focus is on agro-food sustainability, in-line with the aims of the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA). Drawing on fuzzy set theory, a step-by-step procedure was developed: the underlying dimensions of a set of selected indicators for the SDGs are identified by exploratory factor analysis; an innovative weighting method is applied to aggregate the indicators and calculate the country scores for each dimension and the Fuzzy Multidimensional Index. The PRIMA program will be a first step towards the implementation of innovative solutions, by funding international cooperation projects between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean for a decade: the Fuzzy Multidimensional Index will be the primary source of data for evaluating such projects and policies implemented from them; the Index will therefore be able to close a gap in the availability of appropriate data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fuzzy Measures of Multidimensional Poverty in the Mediterranean Area: A Focus on Financial Dimension
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010143 - 28 Dec 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The main scope of the paper is to adopt a fuzzy sets approach for the measurement of multidimensional poverty over a period of eight years, from 2007 to 2015, which takes into account the effect of the 2008 economic and financial crisis. In [...] Read more.
The main scope of the paper is to adopt a fuzzy sets approach for the measurement of multidimensional poverty over a period of eight years, from 2007 to 2015, which takes into account the effect of the 2008 economic and financial crisis. In particular, the focus is on the financial dimension of poverty, and its effects on citizens in the EU Mediterranean Area. The empirical analysis, based on the European Union—Statistics on Income and Living Conditions survey (EU-SILC), covers eight Mediterranean Countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Tourist Intensity in the World, 1995–2015: Two Measurement Proposals
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4546; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124546 - 02 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The work emphasizes the importance of measuring the tourist intensity of the economies that are oriented to tourism activity, with the aim of avoiding subjective arguments and being more related to perception than with the empirical contrast of the data. A tourist intensity [...] Read more.
The work emphasizes the importance of measuring the tourist intensity of the economies that are oriented to tourism activity, with the aim of avoiding subjective arguments and being more related to perception than with the empirical contrast of the data. A tourist intensity index is proposed, which is made up of four essential variables: GDP, tourist spending, population, and the number of tourists. However, at the same time, it is complemented by a measure of tourist density, which helps to better understand the proposed index. This allows for the classification of countries according to the resulting index, and to calibrate their position in the set of tourist economies. This can be very useful for the application of economic policies aimed at correcting externalities that are generated in the advanced development of mass tourism. Full article
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