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Power Generation and Structural Change: Quantifying Economic Effects of the Coal Phase-out in Germany

In the fight against global warming, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a major objective. In particular, a decrease in electricity generation by coal could contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. Using a multi-region dynamic general equilibrium model, this paper studies potential economic consequences of a coal phase-out in Germany. Different regional phase-out scenarios are simulated with varying timing structures. We find that a politically induced coal phase-out would lead to an increase in the national unemployment rate by about 0.10 percentage points from 2020 to 2040, depending on the specific scenario. The effect on regional unemployment rates varies between 0.18 to 1.07 percentage points in the lignite regions. However, a faster coal phase-out can lead to a faster recovery. The coal phase-out leads to migration from German lignite regions to German non-lignite regions and reduces the labour force in the lignite regions by 10,000 people by 2040.

14. August 2019

Authors Christoph Schult Katja Heinisch Oliver Holtemöller

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Christoph Schult
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