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A Behavioral Research Approach to Sustainable Household Consumption in Three Bulgarian Cities

Simeon Jelev, Galina Mladenova and Borislava Stoimenova
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Simeon Jelev: University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria
Galina Mladenova: University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria
Borislava Stoimenova: University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria

Economic Alternatives, 2022, issue 1, 85-110

Abstract: This paper aims at examining the sustainable urban consumption (SUC) of households in three Bulgarian cities and determining whether there are significant differences between their sustainable consumption patterns. A conceptual model for measuring SUC is developed with an emphasis on the behavioral component of the attitudes. As part of this, four indexes to study different dimensions of SUC are constructed, namely: Housing Index (provision of the housing with conditions for sustainable consumption); Electricity and Water Index; Food Index; Transportation Index. Ð Composite Behavioral Index (CBI) was also constructed from the four aforementioned indexes. The model was tested in an empirical study covering a total of 1049 households in the cities Sofia (403 households), Varna (342 households) and Svishtov (304 households). The results reveal that a relatively small portion of the households in the three cities tend to have sustainable lifestyles. Overall, the households from Varna perform the most sustainable behavior. The efficient use of electricity and water prevails the investments in sustainable housing conditions, which signals for orientation towards short term savings rather than reduction of costs in the long run. With no significant differences between the cities, the sustainable transportation practices are least popular among the households. Sustainable food consumption, normally related to preparing at home fresh and locally produced food of mainly vegetable origin, was more widespread among the households from Varna and Svishtov. The proposed research methodology for measuring SUC can be applied both in comparative analyses of SUC for households from different settlements and regions, and for tracking the changes of SUC for households in a given settlement.

Keywords: Sustainable Household Consumption; Housing Index; Electricity and Water Index; Food Index; Transportation Index; Composite Sustainable Behavior Index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Handle: RePEc:nwe:eajour:y:2022:i:1:p:85-110