Project

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Transition to a 'Green Open Economy': Labour Market Effects and Implications for the Swiss Economy

Applicant Weder Rolf
Number 172430
Funding scheme NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
Research institution Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Economics
Start/End 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2020
Approved amount 658'777.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Economics
Educational science and Pedagogy

Keywords (6)

Governance; Environmental Regulations; Green Jobs; Competitiveness; Green Skills; Environmental Outcomes

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
In unserem Projekt untersuchen wir Herausforderungen im Arbeitsmarkt für die Schweiz auf dem Weg zu einer nachhaltigen und weiterhin offenen Volkswirtschaft. Wir identifizieren und untersuchen Berufe und Fähigkeiten, die für eine solche Transformation relevant, aber möglicherweise noch nicht ausreichend vorhanden sind.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Es ist wenig darüber bekannt, wie schweizerische Unternehmen auf Umweltregulierungen reagieren. Beispielsweise sind aufgrund der Offenheit der Volkswirtschaft Verlagerungen ins Ausland möglich, die allerdings kaum im Sinne einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung stehen. Zudem gibt es wenig Wissen darüber, welche Berufe und Fähigkeiten für eine Transformation hin zu einer nachhaltigen Wirtschaft gefragt aber knapp sind. Weiter ist unklar, wie die Lehrpläne von solchen Berufen weiterentwickelt werden müssen.

Ziel
Ziel ist ein besseres Verständnis der Reaktion von verschiedenen Produktionsinputs auf sich verändernde Umweltregulierungen. Hierbei sollen insbesondere "grüne" Berufe und Fähigkeiten identifiziert und bestehende oder künftige Diskrepanzen zwischen Angebot und Nachfrage auf dem Arbeitsmarkt analysiert, beziehungsweise antizipiert werden. Weiter wollen wir aufzeigen in welchen Branchen Massnahmen zur Reduktion dieser Knappheiten ökologisch und ökonomisch besonders lohnenswert sind.

Bedeutung
Die Resultate des Projekts vertiefen das Verständnis der Folgen der Umweltpolitik auf die offene schweizerische Volkswirtschaft, besonders hinsichtlich möglicher Friktionen auf dem Arbeitsmarkt. Diese Informationen sind sowohl für Berufsverbände zur Entwicklung von Lehrplänen wie auch für umwelt- und bildungspolitische Entscheide von Bedeutung. Es leistet so auch einen Beitrag zur Erreichung der Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung der Agenda 2030, und zwar speziell zum Ziel 12 Verantwortungsvoller Konsum und Produktion.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.03.2018

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Dans notre projet, nous examinons les défis qui se présentent sur le marché du travail d’une Suisse sur la voie d'une économie durable et ouverte. Nous identifions et examinons les professions et les compétences qui sont pertinentes dans le cadre d’une telle transition, mais qui ne se trouvent pas encore être suffisamment disponibles.
Lay summary

Contexte
On sait peu de choses sur la manière dont les entreprises suisses réagissent aux réglementations environnementales. Par exemple, en raison de l'ouverture de l'économie, des délocalisations à l'étranger sont possibles, ce qui n'est guère en faveur du développement durable. De plus, il n’existe que peu d’informations sur les professions et les compétences recherchées dans le cadre d’une transition vers une économie durable, et qui sont en nombre insuffisants. Il n’est pas clair non plus de quelle manière il convient de faire évoluer les plans d’études de ces professions.

Objectifs
L’objectif est de mieux comprendre la réponse de différents intrants de production à des changements de réglementations environnementales. Pour ce faire, nous identifions des professions et compétences "vertes" et analysons, voire anticipons, les décalages entre l’offre et la demande qui existent ou existeront sur le marché du travail. En outre, nous voulons pointer du doigt les branches dans lesquelles des mesures visant à réduire ces pénuries s’avèrent particulièrement intéressantes du point de vue écologique et économique.

Importance
Les résultats du projet amélioreront la compréhension des effets de la politique environnementale sur l’économie suisse ouverte, notamment en ce qui concerne d’éventuelles frictions sur le marché du travail. Ces informations sont importantes tant pour les associations professionnelles qui établissent les plans d’études que pour les décisions en matière de politique environnementale et éducative. Le projet contribue ainsi également à répondre aux objectifs de développement durable des Nations Unies et en particulier à l’objectif n° 12 (consommation et production responsables).

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.03.2018

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
In our project we are looking into challenges in the labour market for Switzerland on the path towards a sustainable and open economy. We will identify and examine professions and skills that are of relevance for such a transformation, but which may not yet be sufficiently available.
Lay summary

Background
Little is known to date about how Swiss companies react to environmental regulations. For example, based on the openness of the economy, outsourcing abroad is possible that can be hardly considered in the interests of sustainable development. Also, little is known about which occupations and skills are required for a transformation towards a sustainable economy, but for which there is a shortage. It is also unclear how curricula for such occupations need to be further developed.

Aims
The aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the effects of various production inputs on changing environmental regulations. Here, in particular “green” occupations and skills should be identified, and existing or future discrepancies between demand and supply in the employment market should be analysed or anticipated. We also want to show in which sectors measures to reduce these shortages are particularly worthwhile from an ecological and economic point of view.

Importance
The results of this project will deepen our understanding of the consequences of environmental policy on the open Swiss economy, in particular regarding possible friction on the labour market. This information is as important for professional associations in order to develop curricula as it is for environmental and educational policy decisions. It will thus contribute towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular to no. 12 (sustainable consumption and production).

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.03.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Mathis Wackernagel United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year

Abstract

This research project investigates the labour market challenges associated with stricter Swiss environmental policy, taking into account both the economic and environmental effects of this policy. The project thereby focuses on green jobs and green skills and emphasises Switzerland’s ‘small open economy’ characteristics.The main scientific innovation of this project is to investigate the Swiss labour market in terms of green jobs AND green skills in the context of a small open economy. Investigating jobs and skills required for the transformation towards a green economy should yield new insights regarding the readiness of the Swiss labour market to cope with a transition towards a green economy. Supplying the necessary qualifications will be a central challenge and also condition for success. Hence, deeper knowledge of potential mismatches between demand and supply may help to introduce appropriate measures that enable a successful transition path towards a green economy.The project is structured in three parts. In the first part, we analyse how stricter environmental regulations affect the relative demand for input factors. The main aim of this analysis is to understand the relative importance of labour as an input factor relative to other input factors, such as intermediate inputs or capital investments, in a green economy. With regard to green jobs and skills, we will study (a) to what extent the shift towards a green economy leads to an increased demand for jobs and skills, which are, based on existing studies, commonly labelled as green jobs and skills and (b) whether we can identify an increased demand for new jobs and skills, which are currently not labelled as green jobs and skills. If we find an increased demand for such jobs and skills, we will include them in our final list of green jobs and skills.In the second part, we analyse whether the Swiss labour force can provide the green jobs and skills that are required for the green transformation and/or whether the Swiss education system (private, public) is prepared to provide these skills in the near future. To achieve this, we will (a) quantify and characterise the demand and supply for green jobs and skills, respectively, and bring together demand and supply in order to identify evidence for possible skills shortages and mismatches, (b) focus on migration as a way to acquire the needed skills to cope with a skills shortage or mismatch due to a transition to a green economy, and (c) differentiate the analysis by industry to learn about the relative demand of specific industries for jobs and skills. In the third part, we build on the results of the first two parts and identify possible deficits in green skills in Switzerland’s work force and show under which circumstances this might be a major problem (e.g., in the tradeable sector) or only a minor problem (e.g., under certain requirements in the non-tradeable sector). Next, we put these results together and investigate the relationship between green skills and environmental outcomes in the light of several circumstances, such as migration or the relocation of production. Finally, we show how the supply of green skills has to be adapted in order to meet the future demand for these skills. We thereby show in which fields of education or training course changes need to be made, so that students and/or trainees can obtain the necessary (green) skills to carry out green jobs. The necessary changes in the selected curricula will be identified and analysed in detail. This part thus delivers key insights about which conditions have to be fulfilled for Switzerland’s transition to a green economy so that its resource use reaches a sustainable level, a positive environmental impact can be achieved and the Swiss economy is not overburdened.
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