In brief

PNRR M 4 C 2 1 1 –  Codice del progetto: P2022S83EA – CUP I53D23006770001

Keywords: planned obsolescence, idiosyncratic sectoral shocks, working time reduction, waste, social capital, well-being, integrated assessment models, happiness

Well-being In a Dematerialized Economy (WIDE),” funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (P2022S83EA)

The project comprises two distinct research units, each coordinated by Prof. Tommaso Luzzati (Principal Investigator, University of Pisa) and Prof. Stefano Bartolini (University of Siena). The research team includes Simone D’Alessandro, Davide Fiaschi, Vicente Rios Ibanez, and Lisa Gianmoena – who are professors at the University of Pisa – and three research assistants that have been hired for the project, Irene Cresci, Laetitia Dillenseger, and J. Christopher Proctor. Some external researchers expressed their interest for the topics and will also contribute, in particular prof. Igor Matutinovic (University of Zagreb) and Emilio Padilla Rosa (Universitat Autonoma Barcelona, also  visiting professor at University of Pisa).

  • At the University of PISA 

The central thrust of the PISA UNIT revolves around enhancing the longevity of products, with a focus on strategies to combat planned obsolescence. The project seeks to identify and address the obstacles hindering the transition toward more durable products, both from the standpoint of producers and consumers. Furthermore, the project aims to explore the conditions under which the resultant gains in material efficiency can not only lead to reduced waste generation but also contribute to reductions in working hours without corresponding decreases in compensation. Are the advancements in material efficiency that come from prolonged product lifecycles distinct from the previous developments that failed to deliver the reduction in working hours that Keynes predicted almost a century ago?

This part of the project is based Luzzati et al. (2022). We will first concentrate on theoretical and empirical aspects, then focus on integrating this within an Integrated Assessment Model. One specific issue is to contextualise the extension of product lifecycles within a multisectoral model, wherein a positive productivity shock affects a single sector. Consequently, the project spans from Industrial Organization, Labour Markets, Theoretical models, and IAM implementation.

Luzzati, T., Distefano, T., Ialenti, S., & Andreoni, V. (2022). The circular economy and longer product lifetime: Framing the effects on working time and waste. Journal of Cleaner Production, 380, 134836.

  • At the University of SIENA

The Siena unit will investigate how and to what extent policies promoting social capital can enhance well-being by reducing the consumption of market goods and shifting the economy towards a more sustainable trajectory. Indeed, declining social capital drives economies towards excessive growth, as people pursue economic affluence to compensate for emotional distress and collective disempowerment resulting from poor social capital. Consequently, policies aimed at promoting social capital have the potential to expand well-being, curbing consumption, and redirecting the economy onto a more sustainable path characterized by slower economic growth. This effect has been modeled in defensive growth models (Bartolini and Bonatti 2008, Antoci and Bartolini 2004) and finds support in empirical evidence (Bartolini and Sarracino 2021).

The project will integrate social capital policies into the Eurogreen macro-simulation model (D’alessandro et al. 2020). Originally designed to analyze the long-term effects of various policy scenarios on polluting emissions, income inequality, and public deficits, the Eurogreen model underscores that emission reductions come with significant trade-offs in terms of social costs (e.g., increased unemployment and income inequality) or strain on public budgets. The central question of this project is: Can policies fostering social capital alleviate some of the trade-offs between socio-political and environmental sustainability that have been identified thus far by the Eurogreen model and related literature?”

Antoci A., Bartolini S, “Negative externalities, defensive expenditures and labor supply in an evolutionary context” (con A. Antoci), Environment and Development Economics, 9, pp. 591-612, 2004

Bartolini S, Bonatti L., Endogenous growth, decline in social capital and expansion of market activities”, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 67 (3), pp. 917-926, 2008

Bartolini S, F. Sarracino, Happier and sustainable. Possibilities for a post-growth society, MPRA Paper No. 108309, University Library of Munich, Germany, 2021

D’Alessandro, S., Cieplinski, A., Distefano, T., & Dittmer, K. (2020). Feasible alternatives to green growth. Nat. Sustain., 3(4), 329-335



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