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Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 16 (August-2 2021) – 806 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Natural pozzolans have been used since ancient times, but only more recently have efforts been made to find industrial alternatives. The most well-known pozzolanic material is the pulverized fly ash, which is the by-product from coal combustion. However, in the next few years, it is expected that the availability of this material will decrease, due to the conversion of fossil fuel power plants to other sources of energy. To the end of increasing sustainability in the construction market, current research is focusing on recycled materials, particularly supplementary cementing materials, which are binders able to reduce the amount of Portland cement in concrete owing to their pozzolanic properties. Among them, municipal solid waste bottom ash may be a suitable candidate as it demonstrates slight pozzolanic activity in its raw form, which can be further activated through specific [...] Read more.
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Article
Junction Management for Connected and Automated Vehicles: Intersection or Roundabout?
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9482; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169482 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 506
Abstract
The concept of signal-free management at road junctions is tailored for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs), in which the conventional signal control is replaced by various right-of-way assignment policies. First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) is the most commonly used policy. In most proposed strategies, although the [...] Read more.
The concept of signal-free management at road junctions is tailored for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs), in which the conventional signal control is replaced by various right-of-way assignment policies. First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) is the most commonly used policy. In most proposed strategies, although the traffic signals are replaced, the organization of vehicle trajectory remains the same as that of traffic lights. As a naturally signal-free strategy, roundabout has not received enough attention. A key motivation of this study is to theoretically compare the performance of signalized intersection (I-Signal), intersection using FCFS policy (I-FCFS), roundabout using the typical major-minor priority pattern (R-MM), and roundabout adopting FCFS policy (R-FCFS) under pure CAVs environment. Queueing theory is applied to derive the theoretical formulas of the capacity and average delay of each strategy. M/G/1 model is used to model the three signal-free strategies, while M/M/1/setup model is used to capture the red-and-green light switch nature of signal control. The critical safety time gaps are the main variables and are assumed to be generally distributed in the theoretical derivation. Analytically, I-Signal has the largest capacity benefiting from the ability to separate conflict points in groups, but in some cases it will have higher delay. Among the other three signal-free strategies, R-FCFS has the highest capacity and the least average control delay, indicating that the optimization of signal-free management of CAVs based on roundabout setting is worthy of further study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport Sustainability and Resilience in Smart Cities)
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Article
Conversion of Marine Litter from Venice Lagoon into Marine Fuels via Thermochemical Route: The Overview of Products, Their Yield, Quality and Environmental Impact
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9481; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169481 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 445
Abstract
Plastics floating in ocean gyres are a popular topic within pollution discussion; however, no simple solution exists to deal with marine litter. Overcoming limitations in collection, and perhaps even more in the environmentally, technically and economically acceptable use of the collected material, is [...] Read more.
Plastics floating in ocean gyres are a popular topic within pollution discussion; however, no simple solution exists to deal with marine litter. Overcoming limitations in collection, and perhaps even more in the environmentally, technically and economically acceptable use of the collected material, is of paramount importance. This paper presents initial results from converting plastic marine litter processed as-is, without pretreatment, and sorting into marine gas oil (MGO) compliant with the ISO8217 DMA standard via a pyrolysis and distillation process. Yields, composition and key properties of products along with levels of eight environmental contaminants potentially generated by the process are presented. More than 100 kg of actual marine litter from the Venice Lagoon, including polyolefins packaging and polyamides fishing nets, were converted into products at approximately 45 wt% yield of which approximately 50% (V/V) was MGO. By our knowledge, this is the first report of chemical recycling of real marine litter targeting the production of standardized marine fuels beyond laboratory scale, outlining coarse but realistic figures finally available as an initial benchmark. The process supports the concept of circularity in the blue economy and could be employed to tackle difficult terrestrial plastic waste to help prevent marine litter generation. Full article
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Article
Sustainability and Resilience of Emerging Cities in Times of COVID-19
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9480; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169480 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 483
Abstract
The organization of a territory relies on a group of transformations produced by economic, environmental, and social emergencies, generating disruptions along with history. Furthermore, every new scenario generates a considerable impact, which makes it more difficult to recover from increasing urban ecological footprints. [...] Read more.
The organization of a territory relies on a group of transformations produced by economic, environmental, and social emergencies, generating disruptions along with history. Furthermore, every new scenario generates a considerable impact, which makes it more difficult to recover from increasing urban ecological footprints. COVID-19-emergence-aware cities face new challenges that will test their resilience. This new outline constitutes a study regarding urban planning from an environmental and resilience perspective within this new pandemic state of emergency. It contains four main topics: emergent cities, natural resources, sustainability, and resilience. The document shows a case study carried out in a Colombian town named Cajicá, where a bibliometric inquiry conducted with PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) adjustments was managed, tested on forty-one scientific papers; all the above were verified by VOSviewer software tools. The study reveals the creation and visualization of several keyword networks and relations retrieved from all the selected articles, along with the use of eight additional documents for all relation analyses. Sustainability and resilience are the main findings, supported as a process of functionality within urban planning. Sustainability findings’ results are prioritized, along with resilience analysis processes, which are both frameworks used during the COVID-19 pandemic; they constitute the main argument within this set of changes, building on alterations of lifestyle and behavioral situations within the main cities. Full article
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Article
Drivers of Proactive Environmental Strategies: Evidence from the Pharmaceutical Industry of Asian Economies
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9479; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169479 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
The objective of the undertaken study is to investigate the association between proactive environmental strategy (PES) and its determinants, such as planning and organizational practices (POP) and communicational practices on sustainable development through the operating and financial performances of the pharmaceutical sectors of [...] Read more.
The objective of the undertaken study is to investigate the association between proactive environmental strategy (PES) and its determinants, such as planning and organizational practices (POP) and communicational practices on sustainable development through the operating and financial performances of the pharmaceutical sectors of south Asian countries. Moreover, we examine this relationship through the eco-innovations as a meditator and technological advances as a moderator. We developed a modified conceptual model and questionnaire and verified by 856 responses from the region’s pharmaceutical sectors. We have tested our hypothesized research model and hypotheses through SEM-based modeling. The findings confirm that proactive environmental strategy and its determinants, for instance, organization and planning practices, operating practices, and communicational practices, have a positive and significant influence on pharmaceutical firms’ sustainable development through operational and financial performance. The findings further show the substantial role in eco-innovation as a mediator and technological advances as a moderator on the sustainable development in this relationship. Subsequently, eco-innovation and technological advances lessen ecological hazards and increase companies’ functioning. Therefore, the undertaken study demonstrated and concurrently ascertained towards sustainable development of environmental and economic leaders. The practical implications are equally important for every stakeholder, such as the community, policymakers, companies, and regulatory agencies concerned with fostering eco-friendly controlling exercises. Full article
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Article
Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market Waste: Safety and Nutritional Characterisation for Their Potential Re-Use in Livestock Nutrition
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9478; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169478 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
Compared to other food categories, fruits and vegetables are the most wasted. This leads to the squandering of economic, social, and environmental resources. The reallocation of fruit and vegetable waste (FVW) into animal feed contributes to the sustainability of livestock production, reducing the [...] Read more.
Compared to other food categories, fruits and vegetables are the most wasted. This leads to the squandering of economic, social, and environmental resources. The reallocation of fruit and vegetable waste (FVW) into animal feed contributes to the sustainability of livestock production, reducing the impact of feed production for land use. In this study, the fruit and vegetable waste from the General Wholesale Market of Milan was considered. FVW samples were collected for one year and were analysed for safety parameters and nutritional, vitamin, and mineral composition. Data showed that dry matter (DM) was on average 10.82 ± 1.21% and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) was on average 22.43 ± 4.52% DM. The presence of soluble sugars (30.51 ± 7.61% DM, on average) was also detected. However, the high moisture content of this waste makes it easily perishable, with detrimental effects on quality, storage, and transportation. A strategy was therefore proposed to reduce the water content of FVW by pressing. Overall, the results highlighted the significant nutritional value of FVW from the wholesale market and the need to develop appropriate technologies to maintain the food chain line safe. Full article
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Article
Project Managers’ Personality and Project Success: Moderating Role of External Environmental Factors
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9477; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169477 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
Successful project completion is a challenging phenomenon for project managers. Various factors play an indispensable role in the success of a project. The objective of this study is to examine the role of project managers’ personalities in project success with the moderating role [...] Read more.
Successful project completion is a challenging phenomenon for project managers. Various factors play an indispensable role in the success of a project. The objective of this study is to examine the role of project managers’ personalities in project success with the moderating role of external environmental factors i.e., political, economic, social. The study includes 145 project managers from 36 large-scale construction projects, from both the public and private sectors. The big five personality model was used to evaluate the personality traits of project managers and triple constraint criteria (cost, time, and quality) was used to gauge project success. Data has been collected through a well-structured questionnaire. The analysis of data indicated that personality traits like extraversion and openness are positive predictors of project success, whereas conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism did not have any direct relationship with project success. Importantly, the findings of this study concluded that external environmental factors—like political, economic, and social—moderately influence the link of specific project managers’ personality traits to project success. The role of external environmental factors as moderators has been discussed. The findings indicate the essential personality traits, as well as the role of external factors for achieving project success. The research contributions have relevance to both theory and practice and provide a deeper insight that is useful for individuals, organizations, researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stakeholders in Sustainable Project Management)
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Article
Implications of Social Isolation in Combating COVID-19 Outbreak in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Its Consequences on the Carbon Emissions Reduction
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9476; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169476 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has two striking impacts on the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. First, the economic contraction of business and economic activities. Second, the effect of oil prices dropping as energy demand decreases in the international market. [...] Read more.
The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has two striking impacts on the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. First, the economic contraction of business and economic activities. Second, the effect of oil prices dropping as energy demand decreases in the international market. This study seeks to underpin the linkage between GDP growth, oil price, foreign direct investment (FDI), air transport, social globalization and carbon dioxide emission by applying time-series econometrics techniques of the following: fully modified ordinary least squares, dynamic ordinary least squares and canonical tests. The results of the Johansen cointegration test and empirical analysis trace a long-run equilibrium relationship between the highlighted variables. Our study shows that a 1% increase in FDI attraction increases economic growth by 0.004%; similarly, air transport and oil rent from KSA increased economic growth by 0.547% and 0.005%, respectively. These outcomes are indicative of the GDP growth ambition of the KSA economy in order to intensify FDI attraction and the air transportation sector. However, we also observe that increases in CO2 emission increase GDP growth. Thus, this suggests that the economic growth in KSA is not green, indicating the need for green economic growth pursuit targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transition Amidst Global Energy Demand and Trade Studies)
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Article
The Relationship between Smartphone Addiction, Parent–Child Relationship, Loneliness and Self-Efficacy among Senior High School Students in Taiwan
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9475; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169475 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
This study explores the link between smartphone addiction in senior high-school students, parent–child relationship, loneliness, and self-efficacy on the basis of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and social cognitive theory (SCT). A survey of 2172 students (1205 female students, 966 male students; [...] Read more.
This study explores the link between smartphone addiction in senior high-school students, parent–child relationship, loneliness, and self-efficacy on the basis of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and social cognitive theory (SCT). A survey of 2172 students (1205 female students, 966 male students; mean age = 16.58 years, SD = 0.78) from 32 senior high schools in Taiwan was conducted. Moderation mediation analysis was performed using Model 14 of SPSS PROCESS-macro to test the hypotheses of this study. The result showed that the parent–child relationship was negatively related both to smartphone addiction and loneliness, which mediated the link between parent–child relationship and smartphone addiction. Self-efficacy was also found to moderate the level of loneliness related to smartphone addiction. Specifically, loneliness will ease when the parent–child relationship improves, and smartphone addiction will accordingly lessen. It was also discovered that the elevation of self-efficacy could mitigate the level of addiction. Lastly, this study provided parents, education agencies, and other policymakers in the education sector with implications based on these findings. Preventive measures for smartphone addiction and recommendations for future investigations are also given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Sustainable Citizenship and Education)
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Article
Places to Intervene in a Socio-Ecological System: A Blueprint for Transformational Change
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9474; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169474 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 600
Abstract
The scientific community and many intergovernmental organizations are now calling for transformational change to the prevailing socioeconomic systems, to solve global environmental problems, and to achieve sustainable development. Leverage point frameworks that could facilitate such transformative system change have been created and are [...] Read more.
The scientific community and many intergovernmental organizations are now calling for transformational change to the prevailing socioeconomic systems, to solve global environmental problems, and to achieve sustainable development. Leverage point frameworks that could facilitate such transformative system change have been created and are in use, but major issues remain. Scholars use the leverage point term in multiple contradicting ways, often confusing it with system outcomes or specific interventions. Accordingly, the underlying structural causes of unsustainability have received insufficient consideration in the proposed actions for transformational change. In this work, I address these issues by clarifying the definition for leverage points and by integrating them into a new blueprint for transformational change, with clarified structure and clearly defined transformational change terminology. I then theoretically demonstrate how the nine phases of the blueprint could be applied to both plan and implement transformational change in a socio-ecological system. Although the blueprint is designed to be applied for socio-ecological systems at national and international scales, it could also be applied to plan and implement transformational change in various sub-systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Article
Investigation on Cycling and Calendar Aging Processes of 3.4 Ah Lithium-Sulfur Pouch Cells
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9473; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169473 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 316
Abstract
Much attention has been paid to rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries (Li–SBs) due to their high theoretical specific capacity, high theoretical energy density, and affordable cost. However, their rapid c fading capacity has been one of the key defects in their commercialization. It is believed [...] Read more.
Much attention has been paid to rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries (Li–SBs) due to their high theoretical specific capacity, high theoretical energy density, and affordable cost. However, their rapid c fading capacity has been one of the key defects in their commercialization. It is believed that sulfuric cathode degradation is driven mainly by passivation of the cathode surface by Li2S at discharge, polysulfide shuttle (reducing the amount of active sulfur at the cathode, passivation of anode surface), and volume changes in the sulfuric cathode. These degradation mechanisms are significant during cycling, and the polysulfide shuttle is strongly present during storage at a high state-of-charge (SOC). Thus, storage at 50% SOC is used to evaluate the effect of the remaining degradation processes on the cell’s performance. In this work, unlike most of the other previous observations that were performed at small-scale cells (coin cells), 3.4 Ah pouch Li–SBs were tested using cycling and calendar aging protocols, and their performance indicators were analyzed. As expected, the fade capacity of the cycling aging cells was greater than that of the calendar aging cells. Additionally, the measurements for the calendar aging cells indicate that, contrary to the expectation of stopping the solubility of long-chain polysulfides and not attending the shuttle effect, these phenomena occur continuously under open-circuit conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond the Lithium-Ion Battery Storage Technology)
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Article
Assessment of Technological Developments in Data Analytics for Sensor-Based and Robot Sorting Plants Based on Maturity Levels to Improve Austrian Waste Sorting Plants
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9472; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169472 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 304
Abstract
Sensor-based and robot sorting are key technologies in the extended value chain of many products such as packaging waste (glass, plastics) or building materials since these processes are significant contributors in reaching the EU recycling goals. Hence, technological developments and possibilities to improve [...] Read more.
Sensor-based and robot sorting are key technologies in the extended value chain of many products such as packaging waste (glass, plastics) or building materials since these processes are significant contributors in reaching the EU recycling goals. Hence, technological developments and possibilities to improve these processes concerning data analytics are evaluated with an interview-based survey. The requirements to apply data analytics in sensor-based sorting are separated into different sections, i.e., data scope or consistency. The interviewed companies are divided into four categories: sorting machine manufacturers, sorting robot manufacturers, recycling plant operators, and sensor technology companies. This paper aims to give novel insights into the degree of implementation of data analytics in the Austrian waste management sector. As a result, maturity models are set up for these sections and evaluated for each of the interview partner categories. Interviewees expressed concerns regarding the implementation such as a perceived loss of control and, subsequently, a supposed inability to intervene. Nevertheless, further comments by the interviewees on the state of the waste management sector conveyed that data analytics in their processes would also be a significant step forward to achieve the European recycling goals. Full article
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Article
The Moderating Effect of ‘Generation’ on the Relations between Source Credibility of Social Media Contents, Hotel Brand Image, and Purchase Intention
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9471; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169471 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 410
Abstract
This is a timely study that simultaneously considers the issues of source credibility of social media contents and generational differences. The study aims to explore the influence of ‘generation’ on perceived source credibility, and its effect on the relation between source credibility, hotel [...] Read more.
This is a timely study that simultaneously considers the issues of source credibility of social media contents and generational differences. The study aims to explore the influence of ‘generation’ on perceived source credibility, and its effect on the relation between source credibility, hotel brand image, and purchase intention in cases where the content providers are general users (UGCs) and hotel marketers (MGCs), respectively. Using an independent samples t-test (278 people sampled), the differences in source credibility between generations were tested and multi-group analysis was conducted to verify the moderating effect of generation. Significant differences appeared in trustworthiness between the generations. Millennials are sharper in observation than the generations born earlier in recognizing the source credibility of social media contents. The moderating effect of generation is noticeable only in the impact of the UGCs’ expertise on hotel brand image, indicating Millennials are affected by the expertise of UGCs more strongly than the earlier generations are. The findings offer insight into better strategizing of social media communication for hotel marketers, utilizing social media and targeting Millennials. A further contribution of the study is that it reveals the relations between variables and effects according to different content providers (UGCs and MGCs). Full article
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Article
Positive and Negative Impacts of COVID-19 in Digital Transformation
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9470; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169470 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 658
Abstract
This study was designed to research the impact of pandemic situations such as COVID-19 in digital transformation (DT). Our proposed study was designed to research whether COVID-19 is a driver of digital transformation and to look at the three most positive and negative [...] Read more.
This study was designed to research the impact of pandemic situations such as COVID-19 in digital transformation (DT). Our proposed study was designed to research whether COVID-19 is a driver of digital transformation and to look at the three most positive and negative DT disruptors. Our study suggests that COVID-19 is a driver of digital transformation, since 94 percent of respondents agreed that COVID-19 is a driver of DT. The second phase of our study shows that technology, automation, and collaboration (TAC) is the most positive significant factor which enables work from anywhere (WFA) (or work from home) arrangements and also leads to the third positive factor of a work-life balance (WLB). The top three negative factors are no work-life balance (NWL), social employment issues (SEI), and data security and technology issues (DST). The negative factors show a contradictory result since NWL is the most negative factor, even though WLB is the third most positive factor. While the pandemic situation is leading to a positive situation for economies and organizations at a micro level, the negative impacts, which will affect overall economic growth as well as social, health, and wealth wellbeing, need to be kept in mind. The motivation of this study was to research positive and negative effects of COVID-19 on DT, since COVID-19 is impacting everyone and everyday life, including businesses. Our study developed a unique framework to address both positive and negative adoption. Our study also highlights the need for organizations and the economy to establish mitigation plans, as the pandemic has already been disrupting the entire world for the past three quarters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Renewed Manufacturing Paradigms for Sustainable Production)
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Article
How Youth May Find Jobs: The Role of Positivity, Perceived Employability, and Support from Employment Agencies
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9468; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169468 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Youth unemployment is a relevant issue among most European countries; therefore, it is important to understand its individual and situational determinants. This study aimed to investigate a conceptual model that explains the associations among positivity (POS), perceived support from employment agencies, perceived employability [...] Read more.
Youth unemployment is a relevant issue among most European countries; therefore, it is important to understand its individual and situational determinants. This study aimed to investigate a conceptual model that explains the associations among positivity (POS), perceived support from employment agencies, perceived employability (PE), and employment status in a sample of 317 unemployed Italian youth involved in the Youth Guarantee program. In particular, this study investigated the relationships between POS and PE and between PE and employment. Moreover, we analyzed whether the relationship between POS and employment status was mediated by PE and whether the relationship between POS and PE was moderated by perceived support from employment agencies. Results showed that PE totally mediated the relationship between POS and employment status. Furthermore, the moderating role of perceived support from agencies was confirmed; when high, it boosted the relationship between POS and PE. In sum, this study contributes to understanding the key impact of POS on PE, as well as the role played by employment agencies as a “catalyst” of this relationship, allowing, with their support, unemployed youth to maximize their opportunity to find a job. Implications for both research and practice are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Careers and Flourishing Organizations)
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Article
Self-Directedness for Sustainable Learning in University Studies: Lithuanian Students’ Perspective
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9467; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169467 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 337
Abstract
The paper analyzes Lithuanian students’ preparedness for sustainable learning from the perspective of self-directedness. The data for the study were collected using a questionnaire that explored students’ perceptions in line with ten indicators of self-directed learning. The research sample (n = 309) [...] Read more.
The paper analyzes Lithuanian students’ preparedness for sustainable learning from the perspective of self-directedness. The data for the study were collected using a questionnaire that explored students’ perceptions in line with ten indicators of self-directed learning. The research sample (n = 309) was composed of the third and fourth year undergraduates accomplishing their degrees in various areas of studies. The data analysis revealed how students perceive their readiness for sustainable learning. Goal setting, technical readiness, time management, procrastination management, exam preparation and stress management indicators were analysed in detail in order to determine which variables had the most significant impact on these indicators. The study revealed that the students are only partially prepared for sustainable learning at the university. Even though they have the necessary digital competencies that allow for effective involvement in the learning process, the data revealed that they are prone to procrastination. The results also showed that the students perceived themselves to be the least competent in stress management and procrastination management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education)
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Article
A di/dt Detection Circuit for DC Unidirectional Breaker Based on Inductor Transient Behaviour
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9466; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169466 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 334
Abstract
In this paper, a di/dt detection circuit for DC breaker applications is proposed to provide faster short-circuit and overcurrent fault detection, where DC breakers are required to be designed for unidirectional fault current conditions, which is a challenge regarding DC microgrid applications due [...] Read more.
In this paper, a di/dt detection circuit for DC breaker applications is proposed to provide faster short-circuit and overcurrent fault detection, where DC breakers are required to be designed for unidirectional fault current conditions, which is a challenge regarding DC microgrid applications due to some associated problems such as long periods of fault interruption, complex circuit structure, and low reliability. The proposal, which is based on measurement of di/dt, can detect fault current conditions for different distances from the point of failure, and is suitable to operation in both islanding and grid-connected conditions. The proposed circuit was studied theoretically and experimentally in steady state, as well as under load changes and short circuit conditions to ensure proper operation, making this solution a fast current fault detection solution, which is a significant advantage and requirement in DC microgrid applications. Full article
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Article
Relieving Bottlenecks during Evacuations Using IoT Devices and Agent-Based Simulation
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9465; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169465 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Most of the existing studies on relieving bottlenecks have aimed to develop route-finding algorithms that consider structural factors such as passages and stairs, as well as human factors such as density and speed. However, the methods in providing evacuation routes are as important [...] Read more.
Most of the existing studies on relieving bottlenecks have aimed to develop route-finding algorithms that consider structural factors such as passages and stairs, as well as human factors such as density and speed. However, the methods in providing evacuation routes are as important as the route-making algorithms because a secondary bottleneck could occur continuously during evacuations. Even if an evacuation system provides the same routes to all evacuees regardless of their locations, secondary bottlenecks could happen following the initial bottlenecks due to people rushing toward uncrowded exits all together. To address this issue, we developed a location-based service (LBS) evacuation system prototype that provides optimized-alternative routes to evacuees in real time considering their locations in indoor space. The system was designed to relieve continuous bottlenecks, which relies on installed IoT sensors and beacon machines which detect bottlenecks and provide updated routes, separately. Next, we conducted agent-based simulations to measure the system’s effectiveness (evacuation time reduction and dispersion of evacuees) by changing the system parameters. Simulation results show the evacuation time decreased from 100 to 65 s, and the number of people who took a detour to avoid bottlenecks increased by 28.66% out of the total evacuees with this system. Since this system provides the theoretical solution for distributing evacuees, it can be flexibly employed to a disaster situation in a large and complex indoor environment by applying to other evacuation systems. Moreover, by adjusting parameters, we can derive maximum evacuation effectiveness in other indoor spaces. Future work will consider demographic features of population and multilayer building structure to draw a more accurate pedestrian flow. Full article
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Article
Psychological Needs, Physiological Needs and Regional Comparison Effects
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169464 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 313
Abstract
This paper innovatively constructs a panel extended linear expenditure system (ELES) model including the theory of internal and external habit formation and analyzes the time effect of consumption habits and the regional differences of the comparison effects on rural residents in a variety [...] Read more.
This paper innovatively constructs a panel extended linear expenditure system (ELES) model including the theory of internal and external habit formation and analyzes the time effect of consumption habits and the regional differences of the comparison effects on rural residents in a variety of consumption expenditures from a temporal and spatial perspective. This research demonstrates the following. Firstly, overall, rural residents have least internal habits in terms of subsistence spending, followed by developmental spending and the most in enjoyment spending. Secondly, China’s rural residents consider the “actual use value” of commodities in “introverted” consumption expenditures; but in “export-oriented” consumption expenditures, besides the “actual use value” of the goods, they also seek to fulfill their “emotional demands”. Thirdly, there is the largest comparison effect on food and housing consumption expenditures for rural residents in coastal economic developed regions, and the smallest comparison effect on clothing, transportation, cultural and educational expenditures. It is the largest comparison effect on clothing and medical care expenditures for rural residents in underdeveloped regions of the central and western, and the smallest comparison effect on food and housing consumption expenditures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Firms and Economies)
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Review
State-of-the-Art Review on IoT Threats and Attacks: Taxonomy, Challenges and Solutions
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9463; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169463 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 516
Abstract
The Internet of Things (IoT) plays a vital role in interconnecting physical and virtual objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies intending to connect and exchange data with devices and systems around the globe over the Internet. With a multitude [...] Read more.
The Internet of Things (IoT) plays a vital role in interconnecting physical and virtual objects that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies intending to connect and exchange data with devices and systems around the globe over the Internet. With a multitude of features to offer, IoT is a boon to mankind, but just as two sides of a coin, the technology, with its lack of securing information, may result in a big bane. It is estimated that by the year 2030, there will be nearly 25.44 billion IoT devices connected worldwide. Due to the unprecedented growth, IoT is endangered by numerous attacks, impairments, and misuses due to challenges such as resource limitations, heterogeneity, lack of standardization, architecture, etc. It is known that almost 98% of IoT traffic is not encrypted, exposing confidential and personal information on the network. To implement such a technology in the near future, a comprehensive implementation of security, privacy, authentication, and recovery is required. Therefore, in this paper, the comprehensive taxonomy of security and threats within the IoT paradigm is discussed. We also provide insightful findings, presumptions, and outcomes of the challenges to assist IoT developers to address risks and security flaws for better protection. A five-layer and a seven-layer IoT architecture are presented in addition to the existing three-layer architecture. The communication standards and the protocols, along with the threats and attacks corresponding to these three architectures, are discussed. In addition, the impact of different threats and attacks along with their detection, mitigation, and prevention are comprehensively presented. The state-of-the-art solutions to enhance security features in IoT devices are proposed based on Blockchain (BC) technology, Fog Computing (FC), Edge Computing (EC), and Machine Learning (ML), along with some open research problems. Full article
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Article
Identification of a Set of Variables for the Classification of Páramo Soils Using a Nonparametric Model, Remote Sensing, and Organic Carbon
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9462; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169462 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 347
Abstract
Páramo ecosystems harbor important biodiversity and provide essential environmental services such as water regulation and carbon sequestration. Unfortunately, the scarcity of information on their land uses makes it difficult to generate sustainable strategies for their conservation. The purpose of this study is to [...] Read more.
Páramo ecosystems harbor important biodiversity and provide essential environmental services such as water regulation and carbon sequestration. Unfortunately, the scarcity of information on their land uses makes it difficult to generate sustainable strategies for their conservation. The purpose of this study is to develop a methodology to easily monitor and document the conservation status, degradation rates, and land use changes in the páramo. We analyzed the performance of two nonparametric models (the CART decision tree, CDT, and multivariate adaptive regression curves, MARS) in the páramos of the Chambo sub-basin (Ecuador). We used three types of attributes: digital elevation model (DEM), land use cover (Sentinel 2), and organic carbon content (Global Soil Organic Carbon Map data, GSOC) and a categorical variable, land use. We obtained a set of selected variables which perform well with both models, and which let us monitor the land uses of the páramos. Comparing our results with the last report of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment (2012), we found that 9% of the páramo has been lost in the last 8 years. Full article
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Article
What Types of Government Support on Food SMEs Improve Innovation Performance?
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9461; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169461 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 305
Abstract
Since small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in economic development, the government implements various supports. Nevertheless, SMEs have difficulties in gaining a competitive advantage in the market owing to lack of capital and capacity. Accordingly, SMEs try to secure a [...] Read more.
Since small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in economic development, the government implements various supports. Nevertheless, SMEs have difficulties in gaining a competitive advantage in the market owing to lack of capital and capacity. Accordingly, SMEs try to secure a competitive advantage through innovation. Government support is necessary for the innovation of SMEs, and it is essential for food SMEs as well. Whether government support for firms can affect firm’s innovation is still a matter of debate. In particular, it is necessary to empirically investigate the relationship between government support and innovation for SMEs in latecomers to the food industry such as Korea. Therefore, this study conducted an empirical study on the factors that determine the innovation performance of food SMEs by government support. This study used a two-stage regression model. The government support does not unilaterally affect innovation performance, but rather, an endogeneity problem occurs through the interaction between them. This study examined the interrelationships between variables for a clear estimate of government support. Before two-stage regression, this study used the ordered logistic regression to determine the instrumental variables. Each instrumental variable was estimated for the seven types of government support that are normally implemented. The result suggests that the government certification support is effective in improving the innovation performance of food SMEs. This study is useful to establish innovation strategies for supporting food SMEs’ innovation in late-coming countries. Full article
Article
New Insights into Ion Adsorption Type Rare-Earths Mining—Bacterial Adsorption of Yttrium Integrated with Ammonia Nitrogen Removal by a Fungus
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9460; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169460 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 289
Abstract
Ion adsorption-type heavy rare earths found in southern China are important ore resources, whose yttrium(Y)-group rare-earth elements account for 90% of the total mass of rare earths known on the planet. At present, ammonia-nitrogen wastewater from extraction of rare earths pose threats to [...] Read more.
Ion adsorption-type heavy rare earths found in southern China are important ore resources, whose yttrium(Y)-group rare-earth elements account for 90% of the total mass of rare earths known on the planet. At present, ammonia-nitrogen wastewater from extraction of rare earths pose threats to the environment. A bacterial strain (Bacillus sp. ZD 1) isolated from the “Foot Cave” mining area was used for adsorption of Y3+. Its adsorption capacity reached 428 μmol/g when the initial concentration of Y3+ was 1.13 mM. Moreover, 50 mg of Bacillus sp. ZD 1 (converted to dry mass) could completely adsorb Y3+ in the mother solution of mixed rare earths from the rare-earth mining area. Ammonia nitrogen in the remaining solution after adsorption was removed through denitrification using a fungus named Galactomyces sp. ZD 27. The final concentration of ammonia nitrogen in wastewater was lower than Indirect Emission Standard of Pollutants for Rare-earth Industry (GB 26451-2011). Furthermore, the resulting fungal cells of Galactomyces sp. ZD 27 could be used to produce single cell proteins, whose content accounted for 70.75% of the dry mass of cells. This study offers a new idea for integrated environmentally-friendly extraction and ecological restoration of the mining area in southern China. Full article
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Article
Gorilla Troops Optimizer for Electrically Based Single and Double-Diode Models of Solar Photovoltaic Systems
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9459; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169459 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 336
Abstract
The extraction of parameters of solar photovoltaic generating systems is a difficult problem because of the complex nonlinear variables of current-voltage and power-voltage. In this article, a new implementation of the Gorilla Troops Optimization (GTO) technique for parameter extraction of several PV models [...] Read more.
The extraction of parameters of solar photovoltaic generating systems is a difficult problem because of the complex nonlinear variables of current-voltage and power-voltage. In this article, a new implementation of the Gorilla Troops Optimization (GTO) technique for parameter extraction of several PV models is created. GTO is inspired by gorilla group activities in which numerous strategies are imitated, including migration to an unknown area, moving to other gorillas, migration in the direction of a defined site, following the silverback, and competition for adult females. With numerical analyses of the Kyocera KC200GT PV and STM6-40/36 PV modules for the Single Diode (SD) and Double-Diode (DD), the validity of GTO is illustrated. Furthermore, the developed GTO is compared with the outcomes of recent algorithms in 2020, which are Forensic-Based Investigation Optimizer, Equilibrium Optimizer, Jellyfish Search Optimizer, HEAP Optimizer, Marine Predator Algorithm, and an upgraded MPA. GTO’s efficacy and superiority are expressed by calculating the standard deviations of the fitness values, which indicates that the SD and DD models are smaller than 1E−16, and 1E−6, respectively. In addition, validation of GTO for the KC200GT module is demonstrated with diverse irradiations and temperatures where great closeness between the emulated and experimental P-V and I-V curves is achieved under various operating conditions (temperatures and irradiations). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Renewable Energy for Sustainability)
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Article
Integrating Sustainability in the Business Administration and Management Curriculum: A Sustainability Competencies Map
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9458; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169458 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 358
Abstract
This study presents a sustainability competencies map (SCM) for Business Administration and Management (BAM) disciplines as a tool to support education in sustainability at the university level. The study describes in detail the design and elaboration of the map based on the competencies [...] Read more.
This study presents a sustainability competencies map (SCM) for Business Administration and Management (BAM) disciplines as a tool to support education in sustainability at the university level. The study describes in detail the design and elaboration of the map based on the competencies defined by the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) and complemented with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations. In addition, to externally evaluate the proposed SCM, we conducted a series of interviews with top managers and founders of five organizations that vary in size and industry. As the main contribution, the SCM for BAM studies is presented, containing 58 learning objectives. The qualitative research framework performed to obtain evidence from the interviewees showed that the holistic dimension of the proposed SCM is highly valued by the interviewed practitioners. Additionally, the SCM’s division of competencies into three levels of achievement was considered practical and helpful to measure them. Finally, the interviewees expressed concerns regarding the implementation of the SCM in real classroom, calling for the necessity of special training for teachers and flexibility of higher education system. Reinforced by the interviewees’ opinions, we believe that the SCM for BAM education presented here will facilitate the design of different methodologies by the teaching staff to guide students towards compliance with the 17 SDGs in 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education)
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Article
Built Environment Typologies Prone to Risk: A Cluster Analysis of Open Spaces in Italian Cities
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9457; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169457 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Planning for preparedness, in terms of multi-hazard disasters, involves testing the relevant abilities to mitigate damage and build resilience, through the assessment of deterministic disaster scenarios. Among risk-prone assets, open spaces (OSs) play a significant role in the characterization of the built environment [...] Read more.
Planning for preparedness, in terms of multi-hazard disasters, involves testing the relevant abilities to mitigate damage and build resilience, through the assessment of deterministic disaster scenarios. Among risk-prone assets, open spaces (OSs) play a significant role in the characterization of the built environment (BE) and represent the relevant urban portion on which to develop multi-risk scenarios. The aim of this paper is to elaborate ideal scenarios—namely, Built Environment Typologies (BETs)—for simulation-based risk assessment actions, considering the safety and resilience of BEs in emergency conditions. The investigation is conducted through the GIS data collection of the common characteristics of OSs (i.e., squares), identified through five parameters considered significant in the scientific literature. These data were processed through a non-hierarchical cluster analysis. The results of the cluster analysis identified five groups of OSs, characterized by specific morphological, functional, and physical characteristics. Combining the outcomes of the cluster analysis with a critical analysis, nine final BETs were identified. The resulting BETs were linked to characteristic risk combinations, according to the analysed parameters. Thus, the multi-risk scenarios identified through the statistical analysis lay the basis for future risk assessments of BEs, based on the peculiar characteristics of Italian towns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Hazards and Sustainability)
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Article
Prioritization of Watershed Using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9456; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169456 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 318
Abstract
Soil erosion is becoming a major concern at the watershed scale for the environment, natural resources, and sustainable resource management. Therefore, the estimation of soil loss through this phenomenon and the identification of critical soil erosion-prone areas are considered to be key tasks [...] Read more.
Soil erosion is becoming a major concern at the watershed scale for the environment, natural resources, and sustainable resource management. Therefore, the estimation of soil loss through this phenomenon and the identification of critical soil erosion-prone areas are considered to be key tasks in the soil conservation programme for the design and implementation of best management practices for specific regions or areas. In the present study, revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) modelling is combined with remote sensing (RS) and geographical information system (GIS) techniques and used to predict soil erosion and the prioritization of watersheds in Nainital district Uttarakhand, India. For the estimation of soil loss, different factors, namely, rainfall-runoff erosivity (R) factor, soil erodability (K) factor, slope length steepness (LS) factor, cover management (C) factor, and the erosion control practices (P) factor were computed. The data on various other aspects such as land use/land cover (LU/LC), the digital elevation model (DEM), slope, contours, drainage network, soil texture, organic matter, and rainfall were integrated to prepare a database for the RUSLE equation by employing ENVI & QGIS software. The results showed that a major portion (70.26%) of Nainital district is covered with forest, followed by area under fallow and agricultural land. Annual average soil loss ranged between 20 to 80 t ha−1 yr−1 in the study area. Out of 50 watersheds in the study area, 7 watersheds were given top priority for conserving natural resources, while 11 watersheds, mostly in the east-central part of Nainital, were kept under the next priority category. Only 4 watersheds of the total were given lowest priority. Moreover, it was concluded that major portions of Nainital district were in a severely prone category of soil erosion, and therefore required immediate action plans to check soil erosion and evade the possibility of landslides. Full article
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Article
Development of a Novel Helical-Ribbon Mixer Dryer for Conversion of Rural Slaughterhouse Wastes to an Organic Fertilizer and Implications in the Rural Circular Economy
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9455; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169455 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Organic wastes of rural slaughterhouses in developing countries comprise of blood and undigested rumen contents harboring infectious microbial pathogens and having impermissible BOD5 and COD values. Previously we demonstrated valorization of blood and rumen contents through drying and conversion to an efficacious [...] Read more.
Organic wastes of rural slaughterhouses in developing countries comprise of blood and undigested rumen contents harboring infectious microbial pathogens and having impermissible BOD5 and COD values. Previously we demonstrated valorization of blood and rumen contents through drying and conversion to an efficacious organic fertilizer which was free from infectious pathogens and heavy metals. Here we describe fabrication of a novel helical-ribbon mixer dryer for transition from the current small-scale household cooking to equipment-driven sustainable production. Blood and rumen digesta mixed in a 3:1 ratio, having initial moisture of 85%, were dried at 90–110 °C for 3–4 h to attain 15.6% final moisture-containing organic fertilizer. Energy consumption and moisture extraction rate were 49.4 MJ per batch and 18.9 kg h−1 respectively. Using this method, small abattoir owners could emerge as multi-product producers to enhance earnings while farmers could source the fertilizer locally for organic farming. The two activities can be complementary to each other and become a sustainable circular economy model. We applied a spreadsheet-based model for calculation of cash flow, breakeven point and conducted financial cost–benefit analysis on the projected operation of the dryer. Fertilizer production parallel with the meat trade should be profitable for slaughterhouse owners and farmers apart from generating local employment opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Circular Economy and Sustainable Rural Development)
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Article
The Study of Dust Removal Using Electrostatic Cleaning System for Solar Panels
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9454; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169454 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 378
Abstract
This study explores the use of electrostatic cleaning to remove dust from the surface of photovoltaic solar panels. First of all, existing systems used for dust removal from solar panels were evaluated. Then, the effects of dust on the panel were investigated for [...] Read more.
This study explores the use of electrostatic cleaning to remove dust from the surface of photovoltaic solar panels. First of all, existing systems used for dust removal from solar panels were evaluated. Then, the effects of dust on the panel were investigated for Şanlıurfa province in Turkey. In addition, the elemental content of the powder was analyzed. A new device for electrostatic cleaning has been designed and implemented. The cleaning performance of this device has been tested considering the electrode designs. The electric field value was determined by analytical and numerical methods in the conventional model (parallel electrode) model. Electric field distribution was investigated using Ansys Maxwell simulation software. The printed circuit boards of the proposed model and the conventional model were produced. The traditional model with positive and negative waveform is widely used in electrostatic cleaner studies. Dust removal efficiencies and electrical losses for different frequency and voltage values were compared for both cards. It has been shown that the proposed model can perform cleaning with high efficiency despite similar loss variation. Full article
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Article
Developing a Holistic Success Model for Sustainable E-Learning: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9453; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169453 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 434
Abstract
In higher education learning, e-learning systems have become renowned tools worldwide. The evident importance of e-learning in higher education has resulted in a prenominal increase in the number of e-learning systems delivering various forms of services, especially when traditional education (face-to-face) was suddenly [...] Read more.
In higher education learning, e-learning systems have become renowned tools worldwide. The evident importance of e-learning in higher education has resulted in a prenominal increase in the number of e-learning systems delivering various forms of services, especially when traditional education (face-to-face) was suddenly forced to move online due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Accordingly, assessing e-learning systems is pivotal in the interest of effective use and successful implementation. By relying on the related literature review, an extensive model is developed by integrating the information system success model (ISSM) and the technology acceptance model (TAM) to illustrate key factors that influence the success of e-learning systems. Based on the proposed model, theory-based hypotheses are tested through structural equation modeling employing empirical data gathered through a survey questionnaire of 537 students from three private universities in Jordan. The findings demonstrate that quality factors, including instructor, technical system, support service, educational systems, and course content quality, have a direct positive influence on students’ satisfaction, perceived usefulness, and system use. Moreover, self-regulated learning negatively affects students’ satisfaction, perceived usefulness, and system use. Students’ satisfaction, perceived usefulness, and system use are key predictors of their academic performance. These findings provide e-learning stakeholders with important implications that guarantee the effective, successful use of e-learning that positively affects students’ learning. Full article
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Article
Financial Literacy and Exercise Behavior in the United States
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9452; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169452 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Lack of exercise is an important public health issue in the United States due to its link to obesity and other health risk factors. Despite several policy interventions, many Americans do not exercise sufficiently. Given recent findings that financial literacy helps to improve [...] Read more.
Lack of exercise is an important public health issue in the United States due to its link to obesity and other health risk factors. Despite several policy interventions, many Americans do not exercise sufficiently. Given recent findings that financial literacy helps to improve people’s rational decision-making ability and encourages people to exercise in Japan, we conduct a similar study for the United States, which has also been experiencing lack of exercise but has a different cultural setting. Culture has important influences on decision making and exercise behavior. This study investigates whether financial literacy is associated with exercise behavior in the United States. We used Osaka University’s 2010 Preference Parameters Study dataset and performed a probit regression analysis to test our hypothesis that financially literate people are likely to exercise more. In support of our hypothesis, we find that Americans with better financial literacy are more likely to exercise at least once a week. Additionally, financial education has a similar association with exercise behavior. Our results suggest that authorities could consider using financial literacy as an alternative policy intervention to promote regular exercise among the American population. Full article
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