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Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to consider suitable instruments of agricultural policy and to identify optimal combinations of such measures to pursue the complex target of sustainable development in a context of binding public budget constraints. To this end, we carry out an application of Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA). The results show that a relatively small (but by no means negligible) weight is ascribed to environmental protection with respect to other intermediate targets (farm competitiveness and integration of immigrants). High importance is given to the measures of “Technical and professional education” and “Subsidies to technological innovation” by all types of stakeholder in any of the aggregation procedures considered. Concerning the target of “Immigrants’ integration”, panelists indicate “Technical and professional education” first, and then “General education” and “Housing policies” as the most important instruments. Our investigation seems to confirm how important is the issue of immigrants’ integration and employment for the present and the future of Italian agriculture: immigrants may constitute a unique option for development, provided that policy makers are able to design suitable actions to promote not only economic incentives for their participation but also acceptable living conditions, in order really to foster social and cultural inclusion of immigrants and their families. Indeed, in a rural context, only when the economic and social dimensions are strictly connected, is it possible to plan improvements in farm productivity, economic growth and sustainable development.

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