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Unemployment Vs. Global Warming

Is “thinking green” an economic luxury? Intuition implies that it may be, but so far there’s been little empirical evidence on the subject. Two economists recently changed that: using data from Google keyword searches between 2004 and 2010,?Matthew E. Kahn and Matthew J. Kotchen found that “higher unemployment rates within a state decrease internet search activity for global warming, but increase search activity for unemployment. Based on this revealed preference for interest in global warming, therefore, it appears that recessions crowd out concern for the environment…” The authors also used recent survey data to analyze the link between unemployment and climate-change denial, concluding that “an increase in a state’s unemployment rate is associated with a decrease in the probability that residents think global warming is happening, and with a reduction in the certainty of those who think it is. Higher unemployment rates are also associated with views that we should do less with respect to policies designed to reduce global warming.” [%comments]