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Green Jobs


  • Deschenes, Olivier

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)


In recent years the prospect of 'green jobs' or 'green growth' policies have become increasingly prominent, proposed to solve both the environmental challenges associated with global climate change and the persistent unemployment problems observed in many industrialized countries. This short article begins by describing the conceptual, definitional, and measurement issues related to green jobs. I then review the existing evidence from the primarily simulation-based studies that attempt to assess the impact of green policies on employment. I draw two main conclusions from this exercise. First, my descriptive analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on green jobs highlights that green jobs currently represent a small share of overall employment in the U.S, and one that has seen relatively weak growth in the last decade. Second, due to the sizable heterogeneity in the scope and assumptions made in the existing simulation studies of the labor market impacts of green policies, it is difficult to make a definitive conclusion about their likely impact. More careful and detailed empirical research is needed to assess the job creation potential of green job policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Deschenes, Olivier, 2013. "Green Jobs," IZA Policy Papers 62, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp62

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    1. Berman, Eli & Bui, Linda T. M., 2001. "Environmental regulation and labor demand: evidence from the South Coast Air Basin," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 265-295, February.
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    2. Jens Horbach & Markus Janser, 2016. "The role of innovation and agglomeration for employment growth in the environmental sector," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 488-511, August.
    3. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/5ahh4t5kfl8nprei89ignlk5nl is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Elliott, Robert J.R. & Lindley, Joanne K., 2017. "Environmental Jobs and Growth in the United States," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 232-244.
    5. Francesco Vona & Giovanni Marin & Davide Consoli, 2019. "Measures, drivers and effects of green employment: evidence from US local labor markets, 2006–2014," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(5), pages 1021-1048.
    6. Francesco Vona & Giovanni Marin & Davide Consoli & David Popp, 2015. "Green Skills," Working Papers 2015.72, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Marin, Giovanni & Vona, Francesco, 2019. "Climate policies and skill-biased employment dynamics: Evidence from EU countries," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    8. Consoli, Davide & Marin, Giovanni & Marzucchi, Alberto & Vona, Francesco, 2016. "Do green jobs differ from non-green jobs in terms of skills and human capital?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 1046-1060.
    9. Pestel, Nico, 2013. "Green Jobs: Erlebt Deutschland sein grünes Beschäftigungswunder?," IZA Standpunkte 58, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Cox, Michael & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2014. "Labor demand effects of rising electricity prices: Evidence for Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 266-277.
    11. Francesco Vona & Giovanni Marin & Davide Consoli & David Popp, 2018. "Environmental Regulation and Green Skills: An Empirical Exploration," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 713-753.
    12. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/2vteelu0n785l82j764n6ul273 is not listed on IDEAS
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    14. Lucien Georgeson & Mark Maslin, 2019. "Estimating the scale of the US green economy within the global context," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 5(1), pages 1-12, December.
    15. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/3qoljitavv93bptuhfaq9drocb is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Raitano, Michele & Romano, Eleonora & Zoppoli, Pietro, 2017. "Renewable energy sources in Italy: Sectorial intensity and effects on earnings," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 117-127.
    17. Janser, Markus, 2018. "The greening of jobs in Germany : First evidence from a text mining based index and employment register data," IAB-Discussion Paper 201814, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

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    More about this item


    green jobs; green growth; employment; labor markets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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