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Material well-being as sustainable consumption driver: Results of European studies



Objective: The objective of the article is to examine the causality between material well-being indicators of all the EU-27 countries and sustainable consumption behaviour indicators of the corresponding consumers. The authors assumed that the material well-being construct is determined by net income and actual individual consumption variables. In contrast, the sustainable consumption construct captures five selected behavioural variables.

Research Design & Methods: The hypothesis was that material well-being significantly determines sustainable practices in European countries. The research model was tested by structural equation modelling (SEM) using path coefficients and developed construct predictors. Two sets of statistical data were used. The first was data on material well-being from Eurostat 2019, and the second was a public opinion poll covering the EU-27 countries as stated in the 2019 ‘Special Eurobarometer 501.’

Findings: Consumers in countries with lower material well-being indicators had a lower capacity for implementing consumers’ sustainable practices.

Implications & Recommendations: The reported causality is essential for policy decision-makers to regulate measures more reliably according to specific countries and distribute scarce resources relevant to their sustainable consumer practices capability.

Contribution & Value Added: The article contributes to the sustainable consumption theory by developing new theoretical construction that combines the different sustainability featured variables. Introducing policy measures for sustainable consumer behaviour, which simultaneously require sacrifice, will depend on consumer income and the ability to meet the costs of environmentally friendly activities.


Sustanable consumption;, material well-being;, consumers;, sustainable practices;, Eurobarometer

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Author Biography

Dario Dunkovic

Associate Professor, Department of Trade and International Business, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia research interests include: trade management, European consumer policy.

Blaženka Knežević

Professor, Deputy Head of Department, Department of Trade and International Business, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia. Her research interests include: the role of distributive trade in national economy.

Barbara Borusiak

Associate Professor, Head of Department, Department of Commerce and Marketing, Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poznań, Poland. Her research interests include: sustainable consumption, propensity of consumers to reduce consumption.


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