A new study by a pair of Italian think tankers isn’t likely to be cited any time soon by President Obama or fans of his massive program to force the U.S. economy to move away from fossil fuels to “green” energy produced by renewable resources like ethanol, wind, solar, and biomass.
Carlo Stagnaro and Luciano Lavecchia are researchers with the Instituto Bruno Leoni. They developed a study “to evaluate the effectiveness of green subsidies in job creation. The question we tried to answer is: If the resources currently invested to promote renewable energy were invested in other economic sectors, would more or fewer people have work?”
What they found, according to their summary in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal should come as no surprise to anybody familiar with the typical results of government subsidies being used to pick winners and losers in any segment of a free market economy.
“So one green job costs on average as much 4.8 jobs in the entire economy, or 6.9 jobs in the industrial sector. The same amount of subsidies that have already been given or committed could produce nearly five times as many jobs if allowed to be spent by the private sector elsewhere in the economy,” they said.
Those results are consistent with the conclusion of a Spanish researcher who last year calculated that for every “green” job created via Spanish government subsidies, at least 2.2 jobs in the private sector are lost.
The Italian researchers add that:
“What’s often ignored is that the creation of green jobs through subsidies and regulation inherently leads to the destruction of job opportunities in other industries. That’s because any resource forcibly taken out of one sector and politically allocated in favor of renewable energy cannot be invested elsewhere.”
You can read the balance of their oped in the Journal here.