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Empirical evaluation of agricultural sustainability using composite indicators

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  • Gómez-Limón, José A.
  • Sanchez-Fernandez, Gabriela
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    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to develop a practical methodology for evaluating the sustainability of farms by means of composite indicators, and to apply it to two agricultural systems, the rain-fed agriculture of the Castilla y León countryside and the irrigated systems of the valley of the River Duero. We hope thus to operationalise the concept of sustainability as an element to support the "governance" of this sector. Our methodology is based on calculating 16 sustainability indicators that cover the three components of the concept (economic, social and environmental), and their subsequent aggregation into nine different types of sustainability indices. Our results enable us first to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of the various methods used to construct composite sustainability indicators, demonstrating the usefulness of analysing several of these indicators in conjunction, in order to obtain more robust results. They also enable us to visualise farm heterogeneity within a single agricultural system with respect to sustainability as well as to analyse the structural and decision-oriented variables that influence it. Such information could help to improve current agricultural policies (such as income policy, agricultural structure policy and rural development policy), with the aim of improving the sustainability of the sector.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-4Y0JYT6-3/2/20d1cb9fc93945c0380189cb75bd4c30
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 5 (March)
    Pages: 1062-1075

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:5:p:1062-1075

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Sustainability indices Rain-fed agriculture Irrigated agriculture Castilla y Leon Spain;

    References

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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Gerrard, Catherine L. & Padel, Susanne & Simon, Moakes, 2012. "The use of Farm Business Survey data to compare the environmental performance of organic and conventional farms," International Journal of Agricultural Management, Institute of Agricultural Management & International Farm Management Association, vol. 2(1), October.
    2. Barnes, Andrew P., 2012. "A method for constructing an index of sustainable intensification within the developed country context," Working Papers 131466, Scottish Agricultural College, Land Economy Research Group.
    3. Ernest Reig‐Martínez & José A. Gómez‐Limón & Andrés J. Picazo‐Tadeo, 2011. "Ranking farms with a composite indicator of sustainability," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 42(5), pages 561-575, 09.
    4. Cortignani, Raffaele & Severini, Simone, 2010. "The impact of reforming the Common Agricultural Policy on the sustainability of the irrigated area of Central Italy. An empirical assessment by means of a Positive Mathematical Programming model," 120th Seminar, September 2-4, 2010, Chania, Crete 109318, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Qingyun Du & Yanxia Wang & Fu Ren & Zhiyuan Zhao & Hongqiang Liu & Chao Wu & Langjiao Li & Yiran Shen, 2014. "Measuring and Analysis of Urban Competitiveness of Chinese Provincial Capitals in 2010 under the Constraints of Major Function-Oriented Zoning Utilizing Spatial Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(6), pages 3374-3399, May.
    6. Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo & José A. Gómez-Limón & Ernest Reig-Martínez, 2010. "Assessing farming eco-efficiency: A Data Envelopment Analysis approach," Working Papers 1004, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    7. Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo & Mercedes Beltrán-Esteve & José A. Gómez-Limón, 2011. "Assessing eco-efficiency with directional distance functions," Working Papers 1110, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    8. Alessandro Banterle & Stefanella Stranieri, 2013. "Sustainability Standards and the Reorganization of Private Label Supply Chains: A Transaction Cost Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(12), pages 5272-5288, December.
    9. Barnes, Andrew P., 2012. "A method for constructing an index of sustainable intensification within the developed country context," Working Papers 131466, Scotland's Rural College (formerly Scottish Agricultural College), Land Economy & Environment Research Group.

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