Convergence of new members of the EU: changes in household consumption expenditure structure regarding environmental impact during the prosperous period
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The materially intensive consumption patterns and lifestyles present a major challenge to sustainability. The major part of consumption is determined in households; therefore, most of the environmental load is allocated to households as well. In order to examine how environmental impact by household consumption varies during the prosperous period, one needs to explore the alteration of household consumption structure, considering that discrete consumption expenditure categories influence environmental impact distinctly. Regarding that, alterations of household consumption expenditure structures are also partially influenced by European integration process. So convergence of new member states of the EU to the old ones by household consumption structure was analyzed. For estimation of occurrence and the extent of household consumption structure, X-convergence was applied. Therefore, the results showed that during the period of 1995–2007, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia were the most successful and Latvia with Poland achieved the least in converging toward the EU-15 consumption expenditure structure. According to evaluation of distinct consumption categories in relation to acidifying compounds and greenhouse gas emissions intensities, it was revealed that alterations of household consumption expenditure structure led to smaller levels of household environmental impact with the exception of Hungary.