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Economic growth and decent work as a goal of sustainable development in the European Union in the pre-pandemic and pandemic period



Objective: The research objective of this article is to compare the European Union member countries in terms of achieving the sustainable development goal of economic growth and decent work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research Design & Methods: The study used a set of quantitative data, the realization of indicators proposed for Goal 8 of the document Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development signed at the summit in New York, 25-27 September 2015 by the leaders of the UN member countries for all 27 EU member states. The analysis was based on the tools of multivariate statistical analysis, a model method for linear ordering of objects proposed by Ching-Lai Hwang and Kwangsun Yoon – the technique for order of preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS).

Findings: The grouping of member countries according to the degree of implementation of the above-mentioned indicated a very good position of five countries with the highest value of the synthetic measure (Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden) and a good one for Germany, Belgium, Finland, Austria, France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Malta. Bulgaria and Greece fared particularly negatively against the analysed group of countries. The hypothesis stating that under the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic most of the indicators for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8 worsened in most European Union member states was verified positively. In the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, varying percentage changes were observed in individual indicators of achieving the above-mentioned goal in the studied group of countries.

Implications & Recommendations: The results obtained under the individual indicators of Sustainable Development Goal 8 indicate the need for differentiated economic policy measures in individual countries for improving the situation in selected areas of the economy. These require a pragmatic and holistic approach that takes into account, on the one hand, local development conditions and the possibility of economic improvement, and, on the other hand, the need to ensure the health and well-being of the population under the risk of a recurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contribution & Value Added: The value added of the work is the classification of the European Union member countries according to their progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of economic growth and decent work (SDG 8) and the analysis of changes in indicators monitoring changes in these areas under conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic.


economic growth, decent work, sustainable development goal, Covid-19 pandemic, European Union countries

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Author Biography

Krzysztof Adam Firlej

PhD in economics. Works at the Department of Microeconomics, Krakow University of Economics (Poland). His research interests focus on innovativeness, intellectual capital, renewable energy sources, sustainable development, energy policy and climate policy in European Union.

Chrystian Firlej

PhD in economics. He works at the Department of Management and Economics of Enterprises at the University of Agriculture in Cracow. He is engaged in scientific and research issues related to the functioning of companies from the WIG Food index on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. His main scientific interest is sustainable development in the European Union.

Lidia Luty

Post-doctoral degree in economics. She works at the Department of Statistics and Social Policy, University of Agriculture in Krakow. Her research work focuses on the evaluation of socio-economic phenomena in spatial and dynamic terms using the methods of Multidimensional Comparative Analysis.


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