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Are green hopes too rosy? Employment and welfare impacts of renewable energy promotion

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  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Keller, Andreas
  • van der Werf, Edwin

Abstract

In view of pressing unemployment problems, policy makers across all parties jump on the prospects of renewable energy promotion as a job creation engine which can boost economic well-being. Our analytical model shows that initial labor market rigidities in theory provide some scope for such a double dividend. However, the practical outcome of renewable energy promotion might be sobering. Our computable general equilibrium analysis of subsidized electricity production from renewable energy sources (RES-E) in Germany suggests that the prospects for employment and welfare gains are quite limited and hinge crucially on the level of the subsidy rate and the financing mechanism. If RES-E subsidies are financed by labor taxes, welfare and employment effects are strictly negative for a broad range of subsidy rates. The use of an electricity tax to fund RES-E subsidies generates minor benefits for small subsidy rates but these benefits quickly turn into significant losses as the subsidy rate exceeds some threshold value.

Suggested Citation

  • Böhringer, Christoph & Keller, Andreas & van der Werf, Edwin, 2013. "Are green hopes too rosy? Employment and welfare impacts of renewable energy promotion," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 277-285.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:36:y:2013:i:c:p:277-285
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2012.08.029
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    Keywords

    Renewable energy promotion; Wage rigidities; Computable general equilibrium; Double dividend;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy

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