Employment and Environment in a Sustainable Europe

Hinterberger, F., Omann, I. & Stocker, A. (2002)

In: Empirica, 29, 113-130. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Environmental policy faces major challenges in Europe. The European Treaties require an integration of environmental, economic and social policies in order to allow for a Sustainable Development. This is of special importance for the link between environmental and employment policy. This paper starts with a definition of the three pillars of sustainable development, the viability (resilience) of environmental, economic and social systems. With regard to economic development and the social field, these objectives are relatively easy to operationalise: GDP and employment are a generally used headline indicator of sustainable development. The total material input into an economy can be seen as an indicator showing the environmental impact.

This view brings about major challenges for economic theory: We include the total material input along with resource productivities to describe, explain and evaluate possible developments of economic and environmental variables.

With the help of the results from a German research project we show the relationships between the indicators, the productivities and how they can be influenced by policy measures. The simulation results indicate the possibility of win-win situations concerning the environment and employment. Additionally we investigate whether the developed minimum conditions of sustainable development are valid for Austria.

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