The transition to low-carbon energy sources is considered as one of the key policies to tackle climate change and, to this aim, many European governments have been supporting the transition to renewable energy through subsidies. Growing anecdotal evidence suggests that the generosity of incentives has attracted the interests of corrupt politicians and criminal organisations, as the wind and solar-energy sectors offer attractive opportunities for mafia to benefit from generous national and EU grant and tax subsidies and to launder illegal money via legal business structures. Yet, no academic research has systematically explored the link between organised crime and the renewable energy sector at the local level. My proposal aims to fill this gap. I plan to combine, in a mixed-method approach, the econometric analysis of innovative GIS data on the geo-location of wind and solar plants across Italy and on the local presence of mafia groups with fieldwork and in-depth interviews.
Climate change constitutes one of the most urgent problems nowadays, in which transition toward sustainability is considered necessary. Energy production is one of the most significant determinants of this transition. Within the literature of sustainability transitions, renewable energy technologies (RETs) constitute innovations aiming to fundamental changes to the existing energy production regime. While transition studies consider knowledge creation and transfer fundamental element of the innovation in RETs, very little is known about the relationship between knowledge creation and the characteristics of regions where RETs emerge. Therefore, my research primarily aims to understand how regional factors affect the development of different technological sub-trajectories in RETS, in terms of knowledge complexity. It will contribute to the existing literature by developing a framework on the relationship between regional characteristics and knowledge complexity in RETs. Empirically, it will provide an original dataset on knowledge network over time and across EEA regions. Finally, it will identify the regional determinants for the development of different technological sub-trajectories in RETs. The study of these regional factors may have important implications in the design and implementation of policies targeted to regions and into the transition process in the energy production field.
Jacopo Canello, University of Groningen, Netherlands
The aim of this project is to assess how small subcontractors operating in low-tech manufacturing industries update their strategies in response to the decision of client firms to relocate production abroad. The main assumption is that, when small producers become more vulnerable in response to such unexpected shocks, strategic decisions are often taken out of necessity. In such circumstances, firms are forced to upgrade their status quo operations to successfully adapt to the changing economic circumstances. The focus of the empirical investigation is on Italian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operating as subcontractors in the clothing and footwear industry. This empirical study will use a comprehensive approach to identify production relocation, focusing on the impact of both captive offshoring and offshore outsourcing decisions implemented by client firms. The proposed study aims to assess whether ‘forced’ upgrading (i.e. strategy change in response to production relocation shocks) has beneficial effects on subcontractors’ performances. The main findings of this work are intended to inform the current debate on the distributional effects of international fragmentation of production.