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Renewable energy and unemployment: A general equilibrium analysis

  • Rivers, Nicholas

Using a three-sector general equilibrium model, the impact of renewable electricity support policies on the rate of equilibrium unemployment is analyzed. In a simple two-factor version of the model, the paper shows analytically that renewable electricity support policies lead to an increase in the rate of unemployment. A numerical analysis is conducted with an expanded three-factor model. In this version, most scenarios analyzed also lead to an increase in equilibrium unemployment. However, the paper identifies conditions in which renewable energy support policies can decrease the rate of equilibrium unemployment. In particular, when the elasticity of substitution between capital and labor is low, when capital is not mobile internationally, and when the labor intensity of renewable generation is high relative to conventional generation, renewable electricity support policies may reduce the rate of equilibrium unemployment. The model is parameterized to represent the US economy, such that the magnitudes of quantities can be observed. Although there is some variation in the results depending on parameters, the findings suggest in general that reducing electricity sector emissions by 10% through renewable electricity support policies is likely to increase the equilibrium unemployment rate by about 0.1–0.3 percentage points.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Resource and Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 467-485

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Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:35:y:2013:i:4:p:467-485
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