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Gewählte Publikation:

Antal, M; Plank, B; Mokos, J; Wiedenhofer, D.
(2021): Is working less really good for the environment? A systematic review of the empirical evidence for resource use, greenhouse gas emissions and the ecological footprint
ENVIRON RES LETT. 2021; 16(1), 013002 FullText FullText_BOKU

Is reducing paid working time (WT) a potential win-win climate change mitigation strategy, which may simultaneously serve environmental sustainability and human well-being? While some researchers and commentators frequently refer to such 'double-dividends', most climate and environmental discussions ignore this topic. The societal relevance of paid WT and the potential role of its reduction as a demand-side measure for mitigating the climate- and ecological crisis calls for a critical review of the evidence. Here we systematically review the empirical, quantitative literature on the relationships between paid WT and a number of environmental indicators: resource use (incl. energy), greenhouse gas emissions and the ecological footprint. We applied two comprehensive search queries in two scientific databases; screened similar to 2500 articles published until December 2019, and used citation snowballing to identify relevant research. However, we only found 15 fully relevant studies, as well as a number of partially relevant ones. This literature employs substantially different scopes, indicators and statistical methods, each with important caveats, which inhibits a formal quantitative evidence synthesis but usefully informs a critical discussion of the research frontier. Most studies conclude that reductions in paid WT reduce environmental pressures, primarily by decreasing incomes and consumption expenditures. However, existing research does not provide reliable guidance beyond the established link between expenditures and environmental impacts. Quantifying the effects of time use changes and macro-economic feedbacks through productivity, employment, and the complementarity or substitution between human labour and natural resources in production processes has proven to be difficult. To better understand the environmental impacts of specific types of WT reductions, new forms of data collection as well as studies at different scales and scopes are required. The critical discussion of the existing literature helps to conceptually map the pathways investigated so far and to identify crucial next steps towards more robust insights.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Miklós Antal
Plank Barbara
Wiedenhofer Dominik

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
working time reduction
working hours
post-growth employment
demand-side strategy
climate change mitigation

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