IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do sustainability policies finance local economies?


  • Bernini, Cristina
  • Cerqua, Augusto


We evaluate whether adopting a well-known transition management instrument in the tourism industry can support a combined goal of sustainability and economic growth. We create a detailed dataset at the municipality level and use a recently developed policy evaluation technique to investigate the causal impact of the Blue Flag program on the local economies of coastal destinations. Estimates show that this eco-label is not effective at enhancing the local economy; findings are homogeneous across destinations. This empirical result is in line with the recent theoretical literature arguing that the transition towards growing a sustainable economy is particularly complex and a single policy does not suffice.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernini, Cristina & Cerqua, Augusto, 2019. "Do sustainability policies finance local economies?," MPRA Paper 91882, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:91882

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smith, Adrian & Stirling, Andy & Berkhout, Frans, 2005. "The governance of sustainable socio-technical transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1491-1510, December.
    2. Capacci, Sara & Scorcu, Antonello E. & Vici, Laura, 2015. "Seaside tourism and eco-labels: The economic impact of Blue Flags," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 88-96.
    3. Lucrezi, Serena & Saayman, Melville & Van der Merwe, Peet, 2015. "Managing beaches and beachgoers: Lessons from and for the Blue Flag award," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 211-230.
    4. Bernini, Cristina & Pellegrini, Guido, 2013. "Is subsidising tourism firms an effective use of public funds?," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 156-167.
    5. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2003. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1161-1189, July.
    6. Paker, Neslihan & Vural, Ceren Altuntaş, 2016. "Customer segmentation for marinas: Evaluating marinas as destinations," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 156-171.
    7. Kosuke Imai & Marc Ratkovic, 2014. "Covariate balancing propensity score," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 76(1), pages 243-263, January.
    8. Xu, Yiqing, 2017. "Generalized Synthetic Control Method: Causal Inference with Interactive Fixed Effects Models," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 57-76, January.
    9. Logar, Ivana, 2010. "Sustainable tourism management in Crikvenica, Croatia: An assessment of policy instruments," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 125-135.
    10. Geels, Frank W., 2004. "From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems: Insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6-7), pages 897-920, September.
    11. Geels, Frank W. & Schot, Johan, 2007. "Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 399-417, April.
    12. Taisuke Otsu & Yoshiyasu Rai, 2017. "Bootstrap Inference of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 112(520), pages 1720-1732, October.
    13. Blackman, Allen & Naranjo, María Angélica & Robalino, Juan & Alpízar, Francisco & Rivera, Jorge, 2014. "Does Tourism Eco-Certification Pay? Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 41-52.
    14. McKenna, John & Williams, Allan T. & Cooper, J. Andrew G., 2011. "Blue Flag or Red Herring: Do beach awards encourage the public to visit beaches?," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 576-588.
    15. Kunapatarawong, Rasi & Martínez-Ros, Ester, 2016. "Towards green growth: How does green innovation affect employment?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(6), pages 1218-1232.
    16. Rigall-I-Torrent, Ricard & Fluvià, Modest & Ballester, Ramon & Saló, Albert & Ariza, Eduard & Espinet, Josep-Maria, 2011. "The effects of beach characteristics and location with respect to hotel prices," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 1150-1158.
    17. Stucki, Tobias, 2019. "Which firms benefit from investments in green energy technologies? – The effect of energy costs," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 546-555.
    18. Markard, Jochen & Raven, Rob & Truffer, Bernhard, 2012. "Sustainability transitions: An emerging field of research and its prospects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 955-967.
    19. Rogge, Karoline S. & Reichardt, Kristin, 2016. "Policy mixes for sustainability transitions: An extended concept and framework for analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1620-1635.
    20. Florian Kern & Michael Howlett, 2009. "Implementing transition management as policy reforms: a case study of the Dutch energy sector," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 42(4), pages 391-408, November.
    21. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Amelia Bilbao-Terol & Celia Bilbao-Terol, 2020. "Measuring the Economic Impact of a Voluntary Sustainable Tourism Certification," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(13), pages 1-18, July.

    More about this item


    sustainability policy; eco-label; transition management; policy evaluation method;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:91882. 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: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.