Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-02262021-004025

Type of thesis
Corso Ordinario Secondo Livello
Varieties of Green Deals between the economy and the environment. A comparative analysis of the 2020-2021 fiscal stimuli in Europe
Cl. Sc. Sociali - Scienze Politiche
relatore Prof.ssa PAZIENZA, MARIA GRAZIA
Tutor Prof.ssa HENRY, BARBARA
Membro Prof.ssa LORETONI, ANNA
Membro Prof. NATALI, DAVID
  • comparative analysis
  • green deals
Exam session start date
“Green deals” or “green fiscal stimuli” have been recently presented as the solution to both the economic/social crisis originated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing environmental deterioration. In particular, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan that the European Member States have to submit in the framework of the Next Generation EU, with the huge amounts of resources they mobilize and their strict environmental conditionalities, have been defined as the “European Green Deal”. In this work I will compare the green recovery packages included in the German, French and Italian emergency recovery packages and in their NRRPs as a way to comprehend the logic and objectives of green deals and the differences in their design. <br>The main obstacle to our understanding of green deals is their complex nature. They are not just environmental policies but also follow a clear economic goal. They emerge as a response to a shock, but their declared objective is to help restructure the economy in a way in which economic growth and the depauperating of environmental resources are decoupled. This follows from the fact that green packages are not monolithic, but rather a mix of policies, more or less coherently combined and the different kinds of green fiscal and investment policy usually contained in a green deal (ie. green infrastructures, energy efficiency subsidies, renewable production, electrification, R&amp;D investment subsidies) have different effects on GDP, employment, and emissions. Relying on different policy mixes, each green stimulus package follows a different policy objective and responds in a different way to similar trade-offs (privileging short or long term, the economic or the environmental improvement). As such, different states have different incentives in designing their green deals (in the EU context this refers in particular to the National Recovery and Resilience Plans in the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Facility) according to their political priorities and to the structural and institutional factors of their national economy and society. <br>In the first chapter, I present a theoretical discussion about the meaning and rationale of the green deals and the specific interpretation that has been given of them in the EU in the last years. First, I describe the political and economic literature starting from which green deals have emerged in the last years and the context of the elaboration of Next Generation EU as an EU-wide stimulus package with environmental objectives. Successively, I define the concept of green deal and discuss its multiple (and potentially conflicting) objectives, notably: short-run macroeconomic stabilization in times of crisis, achievement of efficiency and improving the growth prospects in the long-run (correcting environment-related market failures and knowledge spillovers), protection of the environment and reduction of the emissions. Thereby, I define in which sense is possible to distinguish between green fiscal policies, green industrial policies, and the so-called “Green New Deal”.<br>In the second chapter, I use the literature developed to analyse the results of the green fiscal stimuli adopted in many countries after the Global Financial Crisis (2008-2010) to answer the question of the effectiveness of green deals in an economic, social and ecologic perspective. This policy analysis allows us to distinguish the different kinds of green policies that usually are contained in green fiscal stimuli plans (and in particular: car scrappage schemes, energy efficiency, grids, renewables, infrastructure, green R&amp;D). These different policies are classified according to how they respond to the trade-offs that lie behind the green deals. The green recovery policies approved in 2008-2009 are generally considered successful in reaching environmental and economic objectives, while it is complicated to understand their social impact. At the same time, the green recovery policies usually part of a green package have substantially different economic and environmental impacts, as they privilege only some of the objectives of the green deals.<br>In the third chapter I compare, using the framework developed in the first two chapters, the green policies adopted in Germany, France and Italy in 2020 and the ones announced into the National Recovery and Resilience Plans. Analysing which policies the policymakers chose to integrate in their recovery packages, it is possible to understand how much the “green deals” actually pursue environmental objectives, and if they are oriented towards future growth or their main objective is to provide short-term stimulus to stabilize the economy in times of crisis. The comparison between the policies implemented by the countries with their own fiscal resources and the ones implemented within the NRRPs can help to preliminary assess the effectiveness of the green conditionalities within the EU package. The comparison between the countries, instead, can help understand what the drivers of different policy designs are. It has been found that the green policies in Germany, France and Italy after the Covid-19 crisis are highly convergent in their goals, that is privileging the economic to the environmental impact and the long term over the stabilization objective, but divergent in the specific types of policies they choose. NextGenEU appears to play a crucial role in equalizing the resources directed to environmental objectives between countries, in stimulating more green investments in MSs and in incentivising investments with higher economic impact in the long run. <br>This work is relevant both as a general contribution to the understanding of the implications of green deals and in the specific context of the EU green recovery plans. In general, it can help clarify the theory, practice and consequences of green deals. As such, it works as an exploratory study for the understanding of the political economy of green deals. In particular, it shows which conception the European policymakers have of green deals. The results of this study can form a preliminary evaluation of the different Recovery Plans, the degree of convergence between Member States and the impact of the EU regulation in promoting environmental goals. <br><br>Research questions:<br>a. Are “green deals” effective in achieving both socioeconomic and climate objectives?<br>b. Which impacts do different green recovery policies have on GDP, employment, and emissions?<br>c. Is there divergence in the green policy mix adopted or announced by different EU member states? <br>d. If the answer is positive, how to interpret the degree of convergence/divergence?<br>e. What role does Next Generation EU have in the drafting of green recovery policies in EU Member States?