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The Employment Potential of Site Remediation Policies: A Micro-Economic Simulation

By Philippe Quirion


This paper deals with the impact on employment of a particular environmental protection policy: contaminated site remediation. We provide quantitative results on the employment level and also on qualifications in the case of France, by making different assumptions regarding the number of sites to be cleaned up and the decontamination level. We use a composite methodology: the engineering estimation method to obtain costs and direct jobs and a reversed input-output matrix to assess indirect employment, i.e., jobs incurred by the production of inputs. Given the high diversity of contaminated sites, we have selected two case studies, the first gathering gasworks and coke ovens and the other dealing with petrol filling stations. As regards the level of decontamination for each site, labour intensity follows a 'bell curve' with the highest labour intensity for intermediate levels of decontamination. By contrast, an increase in the number of sites to be treated has an important positive net effect on employment. Hence, a programme of site remediation of a large number of sites, preferably with an intermediate level of decontamination, would lead to a significant increase in employment, even when we take into account the jobs destroyed elsewhere in the economy by the funding of the clean-up.

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