Sostenibilità e mercati nelle teorie del benessere e del comportamento dei consumatori

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Silvio Menghini *
Nicola Marinelli
(*) Corresponding Author:
Silvio Menghini |


The relationship between the market and sustainable development is strictly linked with the comparison between the private interests, direct towards the economic growth, and the public interests, orientated instead towards the maximization of the public welfare, according to a vision of development which considers not only the economic growth, but also the environmental and social preservation. As part of this comparison, it has to be taken into account the failure of the market, because of information asymmetries and the presence of certain elements, such as public goods and externalities, that are fundamental for the achievement of sustainability but not allocated by markets. In the paper the evolution of food demand is examined, highlighting the significant changes in the consumer behavior, linked with the post-modern tendencies and the modern vision of well being. In the face of this new demand characterized by more responsible consumers, on the other side, the supply has the opportunity to improve its competitiveness by adopting strategies of diversification, with the ideal extension of the boundaries of the farms from a conventional towards a multifunctional agriculture. Through the description of these dynamics of supply and demand, it is highlighted that such an extension of the ideal boundaries of farms can provide an opportunity to create synergies between the objectives of competitiveness of the primary sector with the public expectations of sustainability: this is possible thanks to the reduction of the market failure due to the expansion of farm boundaries, through which certain public goods and externalities, that agriculture produces, become productive resources for the same farms, contributing to expand the assortment of goods and/or increase their quality and, consequently, increase the revenues of farms.

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Author Biographies

Silvio Menghini, University of Florence

DEISTAF - Dipartimento di Economia, Ingegneria, Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie e Forestali

Nicola Marinelli, University of Florence

DEISTAF - Dipartimento di Economia, Ingegneria, Scienze e Tecnologie Agrarie e Forestali