17 research outputs found

    The effect of sustainable business practices on profitability. Accounting for strategic disclosure

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    This work tackles from an empirical perspective the widely debated relationship between sustainability in business practices and profitability, focusing on a sample of listed European firms. To measure the extent of sustainable practices at the firm level, the Comprehensive Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) score is proposed. The indicator, computed using the Mazziotta-Pareto method, combines qualitative ratings on adherence to ESG standards with quantitative observations on the extent of data disclosure. Firms failing to pursue full disclosure are penalized. Focusing on the constituents of the Euro Stoxx 300 index, a dynamic panel model is implemented, where profitability is explained by the indicator. The results show that sustainability in business practices reduces profitability. These findings are in line with a strand of literature that highlights the role of strategic disclosure of ESG information on part of firms. Strategic disclosure occurs as a combination of greenwashing and social washing, with firms overstating the extent of their positive behaviors. The integration of sustainable practices within successful business models thus remains a relevant societal problem. The current EU policy framework is discussed in line with our findings

    Do Local Institutions Affect Labour Market Participation? the Italian Case

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    Italy features very low labour market participation rates for both men and women, coupled with a sizeable participation gender gap. This work investigates empirically the relation between institutional quality and labour market participation at the local level. Using official records on the Italian provinces over the 2004-2012 timespan and the Institutional Quality Index, we use a Spatial Lag of X model to gauge the direct and indirect impact of local institutions on male and female participation rates, with particular regard to the participation gender gap. The results support the idea that institutional quality has a significant impact on local labour market participation, for both men and women, while it does not affect the participation gap. Moreover, institutions generate spatial spillovers, affecting participation in neighbouring provinces. Finally, the availability of public child care facilities is as a key determinant of female participation

    Policy efficiency in the field of food sustainability. The adjusted food agriculture and nutrition index

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    This work introduces a revised version of the Food Sustainability Index, proposed by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition in 2016. Our Adjusted Food Sustainability Index features two important advantages: 1) it employs the Mazziotta-Pareto method to compute weights, hence granting an objective aggregation criterion and 2) it does not take policy variables into account, thus focusing on the status quo. The policy variables are aggregated into the Policy Index, measuring the quality of the food sustainability policies. We compute the two indices for 25 countries worldwide, then we use the Data Envelopment Analysis to evaluate policy efficiency. Our results show that country-level variation in policy efficiency is wide and policies affect food sustainability significantly, especially when they target nutritional challenges

    The good and the bad: Identifying homogeneous groups of municipalities in terms of separate waste collection determinants in Italy

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    The European Commission identifies separate waste collection as a primary factor in its sustainable development strategy. The EU Member States are expected to achieve a separate waste collection rate of 50% by 2020. Although Italy is not very far from such target, it features wide regional variation in the extent of separate collection. Municipal administrations are the key managerial units for the implementation of the environmental policy. By means of the Classification and Regression Tree Analysis, this work assembles Italian municipalities (NUTS-4) into homogenous groups, that share common characteristics with respect to geographic, economic and socio-cultural covariates. Three benchmark regions are identified, i.e. Veneto, Sardinia and much of Campania. The results achieved in these areas depend on the joint action of citizens and institutions and may inspire local-level waste management policies in other areas of the country

    Measuring female discrimination through language: a novel indicator and its effect on production efficiency in Italy

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    Purpose While the economic literature mostly tackled discrimination looking at labour costs, this work focuses on its relation to labour productivity, arguing that discrimination may worsen the performance of female employees. In this view, it represents a source of allocative inefficiency, which contributes to reducing output. Design/methodology/approach Female discrimination is both a social and an economic problem. In social terms, consolidated gender stereotypes impose constraints on women’s behaviour, worsening their overall well-being. In economic terms, women face generally worse labour market conditions. Using long-run Italian data spanning from 1861 to 2009, the authors propose a novel measure of female discrimination based on the observed frequency of discriminating epithets. Following social capital theory, the authors distinguish between structural and voluntary discrimination, and use Data Envelopment Analysis for time series data to assess the extent of inefficiency that each component of discrimination induces in the production process. Findings The results draw the trajectory of female discrimination in Italy and provide evidence in favour of the idea that female discrimination reduces productive efficiency. In particular, the structural component of female discrimination, although less sizeable than the voluntary component, plays a major role, especially in recent years, where more stringent beauty standards fuel looks-based discrimination. Originality/value The contribution of this work is twofold. First, based on contributions from social sciences different from economics, it proposes a novel theoretical framework that explores the effect of discriminatory language on labour productivity. Second, it introduces a novel and direct measure of female discrimination at the country level, based on the bidirectional link between language and culture. The indicator is easily understood by policymakers and may be used to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-discrimination policies

    Religious participation and attitude towards LGBT+ communities. The case of Italy

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    In recent years, LGBT + communities have obtained significant victories in terms of recognition and civil rights in Western countries. Nonetheless, various forms of discrimination are still common, and a wide extent of variation is observed in societal attitudes towards LGBT + people. Several reasons may explain this heteroge- neity, including religion. This work proposes a novel measure of tolerance towards LGBT + people, i.e. the Queer Friendliness Index, based on microdata drawn from a survey of citizen perception in Italy. Subsequently, we analyse the effect of active religious participation on the degree of tolerance towards LGBT + communities. To address self-selection among parish members, we resort to the Heckman procedure. We find that religious participation, reinforcing traditional values and creating strong relational ties among parish members, distorts the marginal effects of the socio-economic determinants of tolerance, producing an adverse effect. This problem may explain the large territorial differences observed across Italian macro-areas

    The effects of neighbour influence and cultural consumption on separate waste collection. Theoretical framework and empirical investigation

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    Separate waste collection (SWC) is a policy priority for EU countries. This work investigates the effect of neighbour influence and cultural consumption on municipal SWC, with a twofold focus: first, it outlines a simple theoretical framework where the motivations underlying pro-environmental behaviours are influence by neighbour effects and cultural consumption. Second, it tests the theoretical results, implementing a quantile regression on Italian municipal data for 2012. The results confirm that neighbours influence each other, while different cultural goods produce different effects. These findings indicate that the cultural policy may play a relevant role in tackling environmental issues

    Environmental legislation and waste management efficiency in Italian regions in view of circular economy goals

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    Separate waste collection and landfilling represent two key outcomes of waste management. Italy recently observed major shifts in waste targets. Regional policymakers, in charge of devising waste management plans, have been required to review their strategies, in view of the transition towards circular economy. This work proposes a theoretical framework that outlines the policymaker's problem and estimates regional efficiency in waste management using Data Envelopment Analysis on time series data. We find that the target shifts reduced efficiency in the short run, but encouraged the circular economy transition over time. Current waste management regulations need to consider regional heterogeneity when setting targets and constraints