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Green goals and full employment: Are they compatible?

Miklós Antal

Ecological Economics, 2014, vol. 107, issue C, 276-286

Abstract: Two empirical correlations are studied: one between economic growth and environmental impacts, and the other between the lack of economic growth and unemployment. It is demonstrated that, at a global level, economic growth is strongly correlated with environmental impacts, and barriers to fast decoupling are large and numerous. On the other hand, low or negative growth is highly correlated with increasing unemployment in most market economies, and strategies to change this lead to difficult questions and tradeoffs. The coexistence of these two correlations – which have rarely been studied together in the literature on “green growth”, “degrowth” and “a-growth” – justifies ambivalence about growth. To make key environmental goals compatible with full employment, the decoupling of environmental impacts from economic output has to be accompanied by a reduction of dependence on growth. In particular, strategies to tackle unemployment without the need for growth, several of which are studied in this article, need much more attention in research and policy.

Keywords: Decoupling; Okun's law; Green growth; Degrowth; Growth dependence; Employment strategies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.08.014

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