Economics - Journal Articles

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    Energy poverty in EU: Using regional climatic conditions and incidence of electricity prices to map vulnerability areas across 214 NUTS2 European regions
    (Elsevier B.V., 2024-05-02) Andreoni, Valeria
    The rising political instabilities and the associated variations in energy prices have recently amplified the existing debate on energy poverty. Generally defined as the inability to afford enough energy services to live a comfortable life, energy poverty represents a serious issue affecting multidimensional elements of life. To address disparities and to achieve the 7th goal of the 2030 Agenda, EU Member States have been requested to track energy poverty within the National Energy and Climate Plans. The lack of a commonly adopted methodological approach makes however difficult to compare the energy poverty risks. To address this gap, this paper proposes, for the first time, an energy poverty vulnerability indicator that can be used to investigate the differences across NUTS2 European regions. By combining data on regional income, electricity prices and local climatic conditions, the proposed methodology uses a threshold approach to maps vulnerability risks for the years 2010 and 2020. Results show that in 2010 15% of the considered households classified into the highest vulnerability risk and by 2020, 40 additional regions moved to a higher category of risk. Mediterranean countries have been the most affected with extensive climatic and price incidence changes. The proposed indicator can support the definition of policies aiming to reduce regional disparities and improve the average European trends.
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    An assessment of the economic value of food tourism to the Irish economy
    (Business & Economics Society International, 2013) Moloney, Richard; Ryan, Marie; Kenneally, Martin
    Tourism is a hedonic product. It is made up of many characteristics which can vary both quantity and importance. One of the crucial characteristics in the Irish tourism product is food and food services. Expenditure on food and beverages by tourists and the value of such expenditure is an important component in the development and expansion the overall Irish tourism product. It is an important issue which interacts with other issues such as diversification, cultural integration and the creation of closer relationships between the tourist consumer and product provider. Strong correlation has been found between increased levels of food expenditure and the retention and development of regional identity (Mak, et al, 2012). This is a result of an increased awareness in the social and in the cultural benefits of indigenous food production and of local consumption. It allows tourists to experience traditional heritage, skills and lifestyle. Both tourism and the food and beverages sectors are strong and vibrant sectors in Ireland. They are the most important indigenous drivers of the Irish economy and are playing a vital role in Ireland’s economic recovery. The sectors are central in creating jobs and increasing export earnings which, in turn, are fuelling the economic rebirth of the country. This paper provides an economic assessment of the food and drink spend by visitors to Ireland. The study reports estimates of the overall value of this aspect of the tourism sector to the economy. It compares the results with those of some of our main competitors within this niche market. Results are provided in terms of income and employment.
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    An examination of how universal design for learning can satisfy student expectations
    (International Journal of Education & Social Sciences (IJESS), 2022-08) Ryan, Marie; O'Sullivan, Kathleen
    This paper investigates first year social science students’ expectations and how these expectations can direct the design of continuous assessments. This paper shows how student expectations can be framed using the universal design for learning (UDL) framework. The data was collected using an online survey based on the MEPU questionnaire developed by (1,2). Analysis of the data revealed the expectations of the sampled social science students are both practical and altruistic. The students expect their time at higher education (HE) to not only prepare them to work in the job they want and develop new skills but to also facilitate a way to give back to society and relate what they have learnt to real life. This paper demonstrates how student expectations can be met by redesigning assessments. Using UDL, learning engagement for first year social science students is more relevant, authentic, and meaningful. Students’ expectations were satisfied. Findings allow for better informed curriculum and teaching to assist students in their transition to higher education resulting in higher-quality learning. There are implications for educators in terms of marrying students’ expectations using multiple modes of expression. Recommendations suggest the continued use of UDL to enhance student engagement and enjoyment on their learning paths.
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    Students’ motives and preparedness for university: A first year social science student perspective
    (International Journal of Education & Social Sciences (IJESS), 2022-07) Ryan, Marie; O'Sullivan, Kathleen
    This study investigates students’ motives and preparedness for their program of study in a university. The purpose of this study is to establish what motivates students to pursue higher education, their preparedness for higher education as well as what motivates them to study social science. Understanding why students choose to study social science is important not only for enhancing social science education but also for educators to become more knowledgeable about students' motivations for their program. Analyzing a sample of first year students offers novel insights and a current understanding of these students’ experiences, as well as the challenges they bring to their studies. The data was collected using an online survey based on the MEPU questionnaire, developed by [1] and [2]. Analysis of the data revealed social science students are intrinsically motivated regarding life aspirations. However, contrary to previous research, the students here are extrinsically motivated regarding work and career. They are prepared for higher education, to work independently and cope with deadlines however, they underestimate the volume of work required by the program, some lack confidence to deliver presentations or plan their studies in a time efficient manner. Implications from the survey allow for better informed social science education and teaching to assist students in their transition to higher education resulting in higher-quality learning. There are also implications for educators in terms of marrying students’ motives with their learning goal orientation. Recommendations include the application of universal design for learning to fulfil a wholly inclusive teaching approach. Further research should examine the ways in which students draw on their prior-learning experience as well as their socio-economic background to make sense of their learning process.
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    Higher education in Saudi Arabia: challenges, opportunities, and future directions
    (Academic and Business Research Institute, 2023-03) Ryan, Marie
    Under the Saudi Vision 2030, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is responsible for educating Saudi Arabia's youth and preparing them for future employment. The recent expansion of higher education institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia both in terms of quantity and quality demonstrates the government's belief that higher education is critical to the country's transition from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. The Ministry has overhauled curricula and raised education standards across the country. A key aspect of Vision 2030's success is the country's ability to enhance human capital and reduce the skills gap between higher education graduates and labour force demands. While Saudi citizens have benefited from government employment initiatives, educational institutions must similarly respond by adapting and ensuring their students are equipped with the skills needed to fulfill market demands. The purpose of this paper is to present the status of higher education in Saudi Arabia and discuss prospective opportunities within the Saudi higher education sector to tackle the skills gap and raise employment prospects of its graduates. This work discusses the expansion and growth of higher education in Saudi Arabia. Factors impacting Saudi Arabian higher education are presented, followed by a discussion of current Saudi government initiatives. Despite the positive initiatives currently witnessed in Saudi Arabia, the prevalence of a national skills-gap remains a concern. This skills gap, its occurrence, and causes are investigated, and solutions for bridging the gap are provided.