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A global analysis of heat-related labour productivity losses under climate change—implications for Germany’s foreign trade

Nina Knittel (), Martin W. Jury, Birgit Bednar-Friedl, Gabriel Bachner and Andrea K. Steiner
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Nina Knittel: University of Graz
Martin W. Jury: University of Graz
Birgit Bednar-Friedl: University of Graz
Gabriel Bachner: University of Graz
Andrea K. Steiner: University of Graz

Climatic Change, 2020, vol. 160, issue 2, No 5, 269 pages

Abstract: Abstract We investigate climate change impacts transferred via foreign trade to Germany, a country that is heavily engaged in international trade. Specifically, we look at temperature changes and the associated labour productivity losses at a global scale until 2050. We assess the effects on Germany’s imports and exports by means of a global computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. To address uncertainty, we account for three Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP1, SSP2 and SSP3) and two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) using projections from five global climate models. We find that average annual labour productivity for high intensity work declines by up to 31% for RCP4.5 (and up to 38% for RCP8.5) in Southeast Asia and the Middle East by 2050, all relative to a 2050 baseline without climate change. As a consequence, for RCP8.5, Germany’s imports from regions outside Europe are lower by up to 2.46%, while imports from within Europe partly compensate this reduction. Also, Germany’s exports to regions outside Europe are lower, but total exports increase by up to 0.16% due to higher exports to EU regions. Germany’s GDP and welfare, however, are negatively affected with a loss of up to − 0.41% and − 0.46%, respectively. The results highlight that overall positive trade effects for Germany constitute a comparative improvement rather than an absolute gain with climate change.

Keywords: Heat stress; Climate change; Labour productivity shocks; International trade; Computable general equilibrium; Germany (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02661-1

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