INTEGRATED EVALUATION OF THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY IN BALTIC COUNTRIES
Keywords:Knowledge based economy, Sustainable development, Sustainable knowledge based economy index, Integrated evaluation, Multi-criteria index
Baltic countries are faced with a variety of challenges, determined by globalization, economic competition, technological changes, promotion of innovation, protection of environment and other factors. They are discussed in conferences, publications of social researches as well as declared in strategic documents. Sustainable development and promotion of knowledge based economy being perspective directions in socio-economic development are still problematic areas in Lithuania taking into account the context of other European Union (EU) countries. For example, Estonia, which joined EU in 2004, like Lithuania and Latvia, demonstrates better results. Understanding of this discrepancy is one of the objectives of this article.
Our viewpoint is that not enough has been done to evaluate results in development of knowledge based economy by taking into account leading parameters of environmental sustainability (energy intensity in the economy, level of sustainable consumption and production, correlations between climate change and energy, prevalence of sustainable transport, consideration of natural resources). On the other hand, it is not perspective to evaluate the level of sustainable development without the analysis of the intensification of the main pillars of knowledge based economy like level of innovations and education. It seems that it is important to look at local, national and global context as well as research in private and public sectors. The progress in both - socio-economic and environmental sectors is likely as a holistic result. Not occasionally main documents of EU fixating the principles of the sustainable development and the knowledge based economy are written in close correlation: the priority of the Strategy of Europe 2020 is to develop smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. Eco-friendly environment is promoted in Innovation Union (the strategy of EU) too. In the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council declared that knowledge is the currency of the new economy and that sustained and greater investment can increase the competition level within national borders.
The purpose of the study is to evaluate the level of sustainable development and knowledge based economy in Baltic countries by using the original integrated multi-criteria Sustainable knowledge based economy index. The following tasks were used: 1) to reveal the importance of sustainable development and knowledge based economy for Baltic countries in the context of the countries of EU, 2) to analyse indicators of sustainable development and knowledge based economy in Baltic countries in 2008-2012 year period, demonstrating contemporary situation and possibilities for improvement.
The research was made, using quantitative and qualitative methods: literature analysis, statistical classification, systematization, synthesis, comparison and generalization. The aim of the study was reached using the original integrated multi-criteria Sustainable knowledge based economy index. It consists of the following sub-indices: socioeconomic development, environment, human resources, innovation and information communication technologies. Determined index is useful because of its flexibility (on demand there can be changed indicators, periods and sub-indices). It could help to evaluate any interdisciplinary things (objects of low, socioeconomic, knowledge, environmental, technologies). Creating and using new methodologies for evaluating different aspects of countries development could help in fostering their competitiveness.