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Community Currencies and Sustainable Development: A Systematic Review


  • Arnaud Michel
  • Marek Hudon


Community or complementary currency systems have spread all around the world. Most often, they have been promoted as tools to foster sustainable development albeit they differ in terms of specific objectives. While many case studies have tried to assess the actual impact of these systems, there has been no global analysis summarizing their global impact.This paper aims to fill the gap by exploring whether complementary currencies contribute to the three pillars of sustainable development. We use the systematic review methodology on an original dataset gathering most academic publications published on the topic in English, French and Spanish. Our main findings suggest that community currencies mostly contribute to social sustainability, and that their economic benefits are somewhat limited due to their small scale and the lack of awareness on their scope. Moreover, very few studies explicitly identified environmental outcomes. Finally, this review reveals some limits regarding current methods for impact assessment in this field. Therefore it encourages more standardisation to provide greater accuracy and strengthen the legitimacy of community currencies’ in order to foster their continued development.

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  • Arnaud Michel & Marek Hudon, 2015. "Community Currencies and Sustainable Development: A Systematic Review," Working Papers CEB 15-012, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/198776

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Leonardo Rana & Pasquale Giungato & Angela Tarabella & Caterina Tricase, 2019. "Blockchain Applications and Sustainability Issues," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 21(S13), pages 861-861, November.
    2. Dedeurwaerdere, Tom & De Schutter, Olivier & Hudon, Marek & Mathijs, Erik & Annaert, Bernd & Avermaete, Tessa & Bleeckx, Thomas & de Callataÿ, Charlotte & De Snijder, Pepijn & Fernández-Wulff, Paula &, 2017. "The Governance Features of Social Enterprise and Social Network Activities of Collective Food Buying Groups," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 123-135.
    3. Marshall, Adam P. & O'Neill, Daniel W., 2018. "The Bristol Pound: A Tool for Localisation?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 273-281.
    4. Georgina M. Gómez, 2019. "Money as an Institution: Rule versus Evolved Practice? Analysis of Multiple Currencies in Argentina," Journal of Risk and Financial Management, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(2), pages 1-14, May.
    5. August Francesc Corrons Giménez & Lluís Garay Tamajón, 2019. "An Analysis of the Process of Adopting Local Digital Currencies in Support of Sustainable Development," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-19, February.
    6. Joe Ament, 2019. "Toward an Ecological Monetary Theory," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(3), pages 1-20, February.
    7. Camille Meyer & Marek Hudon, 2019. "Money and the Commons: An Investigation of Complementary Currencies and Their Ethical Implications," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 277-292, November.
    8. Lehtonen, Markku & de Carlo, Laurence, 2019. "Community energy and the virtues of mistrust and distrust: Lessons from Brighton and Hove energy cooperatives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 1-1.
    9. Camille Meyer & Marek Hudon, 2017. "Alternative organizations in finance: commoning in complementary currencies," Working Papers CEB 17-015, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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