Germany continues to play a pioneering role in replacing conventional power plants with renewable energy sources. While this might be beneficial with respect to environmental quality, it also implies increasing electricity prices. The extent to which this is associated with negative impacts on employment depends on the interrelationship between labor and electricity as input factors in the production process. In this paper, we estimate cross-price elasticities between electricity and heterogeneous labor for the German manufacturing sector. We use administrative linked employer–employee micro-data combined with information on sector-level electricity prices and usage over the period 2003–2007. We find positive, but small conditional cross-price elasticities of labor demand with respect to electricity prices, which means that electricity as an input factor can be replaced by labor to a limited extent when the production level is held constant. In the case of adjustable output, we find negative unconditional cross-price elasticities, implying that higher electricity prices lead to output reductions and to lower labor demand, with low- and high-skilled workers being affected more than medium-skilled. Resulting adverse distributional effects and potential overall job losses may pose challenges for policy-makers in securing public support for the German energy turnaround.
Cox, Michael, Andreas Peichl, Nico Pestel und Sebastian Siegloch (2014), Labor Demand Effects of Rising Electricity Prices: Evidence for Germany, , 266-277. Download