Green Jobs or Lost Jobs? The Distributional Implications for US Workers in a Low Carbon Economy
Confronting climate change will require the United States to dramatically reshape large portions of its economy. Carbon-intensive sectors in manufacturing and mining, which have long been bastions for middle-class jobs in communities across the country, are expected to shrink. Fears among workers and the communities that rely on these jobs are not unjustified, given recent economic research on the effect of trade shocks and environmental regulations. Yet reductions in carbon-intensive industries are only one side of the coin in addressing climate change. While many industries may shrink, a dramatic investment in green and renewable industries may create new opportunities for workers throughout the country. There is almost no economic research, however, exploring whether and how green jobs will benefit workers and their communities. Leveraging job-posting data from Burning Glass Technologies, along with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics, Curtis and Marinescu will estimate the long-run benefits that workers accrue when green technology investments in solar and wind are made in their communities, as well as which types of workers benefit and which do not. The three researchers also are planning to estimate the effect of having more green jobs on local economic outcomes, such as the employment rate, poverty rate, and average incomes.