Dynamic multidimensional assessment of sustainability at the macro level: The case of Austria
This paper explores the issue of sustainability at the macro scale employing multi-criteria decision aid (MCDA) methods. The incommensurability of values and the essentially multi-dimensional and dynamic nature of sustainability challenge the use of composite measurement indices. This determined the choice of MCDA methods. Austria was chosen as a case study, due to the wide availability of data, especially on indicators of strong sustainability. The structure of the multi-criteria problem comprised the evolution of different sustainability dimensions over time. The process for selecting criteria included a critical assessment of institutional sustainability agendas (UN, EU and Austrian Government) and theoretical recommendations. After an assessment of MCDA methods, the NAIADE method demonstrated the most suitable properties for sustainability assessment. The application of this outranking approach was undertaken in three separate settings: long-term from 1960 to 2003, medium-term, 1970-1995, and short-term, 1995-2003 with varying numbers of criteria. The response of results to the addition of evaluating criteria and periods was tested. The degree of credibility for accepting preference relations was also employed for sensitivity analysis. According to the results of long-term and medium-term assessments, especially in the weak sustainability setting, sustainable progress is taking place in Austria. In the short term, in the stronger sustainability setting and, especially as the number of criteria increases, more incomparable periods appear and trends are less determined. Moreover, it is shown how results crucially depend on the methodological choices. This is one of the first applications of the multi-criteria tools to the dynamic analysis of sustainability at the macro scale.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Martinez-Alier, Joan & Munda, Giuseppe & O'Neill, John, 1998. "Weak comparability of values as a foundation for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 277-286, September.
- Hanley, Nick & Moffatt, Ian & Faichney, Robin & Wilson, Mike, 1999. "Measuring sustainability: A time series of alternative indicators for Scotland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 55-73, January.
- Munda, G. & Nijkamp, P. & Rietveld, P., 1995.
"Qualitative multicriteria methods for fuzzy evaluation problems: An illustration of economic-ecological evaluation,"
European Journal of Operational Research,
Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 79-97, April.
- Munda, G. & Nijkamp, P. & Rietveld, P., 1992. "Qualitative multicriteria methods for fuzzy evaluation problems : an illustration of economic-ecological evaluation," Serie Research Memoranda 0057, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
- Gamboa, Gonzalo & Munda, Giuseppe, 2007. "The problem of windfarm location: A social multi-criteria evaluation framework," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1564-1583, March.
- Simon Dietz & Eric Neumayer, 2007.
"Weak and strong sustainability in the SEEA: concepts and measurement,"
LSE Research Online Documents on Economics
3058, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Dietz, Simon & Neumayer, Eric, 2007. "Weak and strong sustainability in the SEEA: Concepts and measurement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 617-626, March.
- Guitouni, Adel & Martel, Jean-Marc, 1998. "Tentative guidelines to help choosing an appropriate MCDA method," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 501-521, September.
- Pearce, David W. & Atkinson, Giles D., 1993. "Capital theory and the measurement of sustainable development: an indicator of "weak" sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 103-108, October.
- Weisz, Helga & Krausmann, Fridolin & Amann, Christof & Eisenmenger, Nina & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Hubacek, Klaus & Fischer-Kowalski, Marina, 2006. "The physical economy of the European Union: Cross-country comparison and determinants of material consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 676-698, July.
- Ayres, Robert U., 2007. "On the practical limits to substitution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 115-128, February.
- Madlener, Reinhard & Stagl, Sigrid, 2005. "Sustainability-guided promotion of renewable electricity generation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 147-167, April.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2000. "On the methodology of ISEW, GPI and related measures: some constructive suggestions and some doubt on the 'threshold' hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 347-361, September.
- Roy, Bernard & Vincke, Philippe, 1981. "Multicriteria analysis: survey and new directions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 207-218, November.
- Munda, Giuseppe, 2004. "Social multi-criteria evaluation: Methodological foundations and operational consequences," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 158(3), pages 662-677, November.
- Lawn, Philip A., 2003. "A theoretical foundation to support the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), and other related indexes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 105-118, February.
- van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M. & Nijkamp, Peter, 1991. "Operationalizing sustainable development: dynamic ecological economic models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 11-33, October.
- Stockhammer, Engelbert & Hochreiter, Harald & Obermayr, Bernhard & Steiner, Klaus, 1997. "The index of sustainable economic welfare (ISEW) as an alternative to GDP in measuring economic welfare. The results of the Austrian (revised) ISEW calculation 1955-1992," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 19-34, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:2560-2573. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.