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The economic and environmental performances of rural districts in Italy: Are competitiveness and sustainability compatible targets?

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  • Salvati, Luca
  • Carlucci, Margherita

Abstract

This paper analyses the economic performances of the rural system and the level of land sensitivity to degradation in Italy. Three indicators (district value added, share of agriculture on total product, and a composite index of land sensitivity) were used to classify 784 Italian local districts into eight performance classes. Four classes share a combination of high environmental quality (in terms of land degradation), high (or low) economic performances, and high (or low) productivity of the primary sector. The remaining four are characterised by a combination of low (and declining) environmental quality, high (or low) economic performances, and high (or low) productivity of the primary sector. The eight classes were grouped into four ‘environmental quality’ types and four ‘target performance’ categories to discriminate among high- and low-performance districts by considering twelve additional variables within a Discriminant Function Analysis (DFA). 148 high environmental performance districts (18% of total) were identified mainly across the Alps and Apennine while 314 districts (41%) were classified in the lowest performance class and concentrated in flat areas of southern Italy. The districts with high environmental performances were characterised, on average, by medium to low district value added, moderately low economic weight of the primary sector, and tourism specialisation. Districts with high economic performances and low environmental performances were characterised by high sensitivity to LD, low district value added, high share of agriculture in total product, and the lowest productivity of labour in all economic sectors. In these districts the risk of entering a downward spiral of rural poverty and environmental degradation is potentially high.

Suggested Citation

  • Salvati, Luca & Carlucci, Margherita, 2011. "The economic and environmental performances of rural districts in Italy: Are competitiveness and sustainability compatible targets?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2446-2453.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:12:p:2446-2453
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.07.030
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Scherr, Sara J., 2000. "A downward spiral? Research evidence on the relationship between poverty and natural resource degradation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 479-498, August.
    2. Pender, John L., 1998. "Population growth, agricultural intensification, induced innovation and natural resource sustainability: An application of neoclassical growth theory," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 99-112, September.
    3. Salvati, Luca & Zitti, Marco, 2008. "Regional convergence of environmental variables: Empirical evidences from land degradation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 162-168, December.
    4. Rigby, Dan & Woodhouse, Phil & Young, Trevor & Burton, Michael, 2001. "Constructing a farm level indicator of sustainable agricultural practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 463-478, December.
    5. repec:kap:iaecre:v:13:y:2007:i:4:p:475-487 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Midmore, Peter & Whittaker, Julie, 2000. "Economics for sustainable rural systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 173-189, November.
    7. Lu, Wen-Min & Lo, Shih-Fang, 2007. "A closer look at the economic-environmental disparities for regional development in China," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 183(2), pages 882-894, December.
    8. Marzio Galeotti, 2007. "Economic Growth And The Quality Of The Environment: Taking Stock," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 427-454, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:rrs:journl:v:11:y:2017:i:1:p:76-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marco Zitti & Adele Sateriano & Luca Salvati, 2013. "Agricultural Profitability And Susceptibility To Soil Degradation In A Changing Mediterranean Landscape," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 81-102, JUNE.
    3. Falavigna, Greta & Manello, Alessandro & Pavone, Sara, 2013. "Environmental efficiency, productivity and public funds: The case of the Italian agricultural industry," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 73-80.
    4. Ferrara, Carlotta & Carlucci, Margherita & Grigoriadis, Efstathios & Corona, Piermaria & Salvati, Luca, 2017. "A comprehensive insight into the geography of forest cover in Italy: Exploring the importance of socioeconomic local contexts," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 12-22.
    5. Salvati, Luca & Carlucci, Margherita, 2015. "Towards sustainability in agro-forest systems? Grazing intensity, soil degradation and the socioeconomic profile of rural communities in Italy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 1-13.
    6. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:173-183 is not listed on IDEAS

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