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Environmental Policy, Full-Employment Models, and Employment: A Critical Analysis

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  • Marc A. C. Hafstead
  • Roberton C. Williams III
  • Yunguang Chen

Abstract

This paper assesses the use of full-employment computable-general equilibrium (CGE) models to predict the labor-market effects of environmental policy. Specifically, it compares the predictions of a standard full-employment CGE model with those of a new search-CGE model with labor-search frictions and resulting unemployment (but that is otherwise identical to the full-employment model). The search-CGE captures key labor market details, including a distinction between the extensive margin of labor demand (the number of employees) and the intensive margin (the number of hours each employee works). We find that some key results are robust across the two models, such as the reallocation of labor across sectors in response to a carbon tax and the overall change in total labor demand. However, the full-employment model seriously overestimates the economy-wide net change in the number of jobs (by a factor of more than 2.5 for a carbon tax with revenues returned lump-sum to households, and by a factor of almost 3.5 when carbon tax revenues are used to reduce payroll taxes).

Suggested Citation

  • Marc A. C. Hafstead & Roberton C. Williams III & Yunguang Chen, 2018. "Environmental Policy, Full-Employment Models, and Employment: A Critical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 24505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24505
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Aubert, Diane & Chiroleu-Assouline, Mireille, 2019. "Environmental tax reform and income distribution with imperfect heterogeneous labour markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 60-82.
    2. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    3. Lawrence H. Goulder & Marc A. C. Hafstead & Roberton C. Williams III, 2016. "General Equilibrium Impacts of a Federal Clean Energy Standard," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 186-218, May.
    4. Amaral, Pedro S. & Tasci, Murat, 2016. "The cyclical behavior of equilibrium unemployment and vacancies across OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 184-201.
    5. Robert Shimer, 2010. "Labor Markets and Business Cycles," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9217.
    6. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
    7. Silva, José Ignacio & Toledo, Manuel, 2009. "Labor Turnover Costs And The Cyclical Behavior Of Vacancies And Unemployment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(S1), pages 76-96, May.
    8. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-690, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xavier Pautrel, 2018. "Environmental Policy and Health in the Presence of Labor Market Imperfections," TEPP Working Paper 2018-09, TEPP.
    2. Noe Reidt, 2021. "Climate Policies and Labor Markets in Developing Countries," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 21/351, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    3. Marc A. C. Hafstead & Roberton C. Williams III, 2020. "Jobs and Environmental Regulation," Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 192-240.
    4. Antosiewicz, Marek & Fuentes, J. Rodrigo & Lewandowski, Piotr & Witajewski-Baltvilks, Jan, 2022. "Distributional effects of emission pricing in a carbon-intensive economy: The case of Poland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 160(C).
    5. Garth Heutel & Xin Zhang, 2020. "Efficiency Wages, Unemployment, and Environmental Policy," NBER Working Papers 27960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kenneth A. Castellanos & Garth Heutel, 2019. "Unemployment, Labor Mobility, and Climate Policy," NBER Working Papers 25797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Shu Kedong & Lu Yueyu & Yu Ziyan & Kuai Peng & Zhang Shu’an, 2021. "Influences of environmental regulations on skill premium: mediating effect of industrial structure optimization," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 23(2), pages 245-273, April.
    8. Lynn Riggs & Livvy Mitchell, 2021. "Predicted Distributional Impacts of Climate Change Policy on Employment," Working Papers 21_07, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    9. Heutel, Garth & Zhang, Xin, 2021. "Efficiency wages, unemployment, and environmental policy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C).
    10. Lynn Riggs & Livvy Mitchell, 2021. "Methodology for Modelling Distributional Impacts of Emissions Budgets on Employment in New Zealand," Working Papers 21_14, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    11. John Gibson & Garth Heutel, 2020. "Pollution and Labor Market Search Externalities Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 27445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    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
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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