The research project: "Distributional Effects of Climate Policy and Societal Support. Towards a Socially Sustainable Climate Transition"
Climate change is a more pressing issue than ever, and this is the perfect opportunity to get involved! Governments around the world have committed themselves to limiting temperature increases to at most 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. However, the implemented climate legislation is not yet far-reaching enough to achieve this ambitious goal. One of the reasons climate legislation lags behind is resistance among groups in society that oppose the perceived effects of climate legislation. It therefore seems of utmost importance that climate legislation is carefully designed to ensure that society trusts that the policies contribute to a "just energy transition".
The economic literature has long recognized and discussed the wider economic and social implications of climate legislation. The literature studied for example how the revenues from a carbon tax can be used to avoid adverse effects on the labour market and income distribution. Most studies focus on a variant of the question: how does a carbon tax, in combination with different options to use its revenues, affect the distribution of income? This focus on vertical equity leaves out the question of horizontal equity. Climate legislation may have very different effects on people who are similar in terms of income but who differ in other respects, such as whether they live in a rural or an urban area. Such horizontal inequities may be crucial in understanding societal support for climate legislation. In addition to this, instruments of climate policy other than a carbon tax have received a lot less attention in the literature, although they may be promising in terms of horizontal equity.
The project aims at answering the following research question: What are the effects of climate legislation on both vertical equity (across income groups) and horizontal equity (within income groups), and how do such effects influence societal support for climate legislation?
As a PhD student, you will enrich the empirical study of the distributional effects of climate policies in the Netherlands. You could for instance first study who benefits from subsidies to insulate houses, to switch to renewable sources of heat, to buy an electric car, or who is affected most by regulations that reduce the number of fossil-fueled cars, or how the labor market prospects of various groups are affected by climate policies. This way, you will generate detailed information that will contribute to both science and the public debate about the effects of climate policy on different population groups. Second, you may study citizens' preferences for climate policies and the way they make trade-offs, for instance between efficiency and different forms of equity. Together, these insights indicate which policy mixes are promising to make a climate transition happen that is both environmentally and socially sustainable.The position comprises the following tasks:
- Conduct innovative research on the distributional effects of climate policy and societal support;
- Write a PhD Thesis;
- Submit research results for publication in academic journals;
- Present papers at international conferences;
- Participate in seminars, workshops and conferences;
- Actively disseminate research findings to both academic and non-academic audiences;
- Teach in the programmes of the Department of Economics;
- Follow PhD courses based on an individual training plan.