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EU rural policy: proposal and application of an agricultural sustainability index

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  • Vecchione, Gaetano

Abstract

In this paper I propose an Agricultural Sustainability Index (ASI) starting from a ‘political’ perspective: European legislation in the rural sector. I try to answer these questions. How can we measure sustainability in agriculture? How do we measure the enhancement (if any) of the European policy for sustainability in agriculture? Why do some geographical areas perform better than others? Considering these questions, the paper suggests a model for measuring sustainability in agriculture and an approach to compare performances among different geographical contexts. The model puts together different dimensions of sustainability in agriculture, combining Geographical Information System (GIS) analysis and Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA). Using eighteen agricultural indicators divided into three dimensions, social, economic and environmental, the model incorporates the following stages: (i) indicator specification and definition of the decisional framework; (ii) indicators' normalisation by means of transformation functions based on the fuzzy logic approach; (iii) indicators weighted by Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) techniques; (iv) indicators aggregated to obtain the ASI. The model is tested on a specific area: Alta Val d’Agri, a rural area in the southern Basilicata Region. Final results show that ASI consistently synthesises the evolution of thirty years of rural development policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 27032.

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Date of creation: 27 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:27032

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Keywords: Agricultural sustainability; Indicators; GIS-MCA;

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  1. van Calker, K.J. & Berentsen, P.B.M. & Romero, C. & Giesen, G.W.J. & Huirne, R.B.M., 2006. "Development and application of a multi-attribute sustainability function for Dutch dairy farming systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 640-658, June.
  2. John Hartwick, 1976. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers, Queen's University, Department of Economics 220, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Gomez-Limon, Jose Antonio & Riesgo, Laura, 2008. "Alternative Approaches On Constructing A Composite Indicator To Measure Agricultural Sustainability," 107th Seminar, January 30-February 1, 2008, Sevilla, Spain, European Association of Agricultural Economists 6489, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  4. Hansen, J. W., 1996. "Is agricultural sustainability a useful concept?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 117-143.
  5. Aerni, Philipp, 2009. "What is sustainable agriculture? Empirical evidence of diverging views in Switzerland and New Zealand," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1872-1882, April.
  6. Ebert, Udo & Welsch, Heinz, 2004. "Meaningful environmental indices: a social choice approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 270-283, March.
  7. Pirazzoli, Carlo & Castellini, Alessandra, 2000. "Application of a Model for Evaluating the Environmental Sustainability of Cultures in Hill and Mountain Areas: The Case of Berries and Fruit Chestnuts in Northern Italy," Agricultural Economics Review, Greek Association of Agricultural Economists, Greek Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 1(1), January.
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