CSH Talk by Tommaso Rughi: “Climate change and labour-saving technologies”

Oct 14, 2022 | 15:0016:00

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This talk will be presented by CSH visitor Tommaso Rughi (Sant’Anna Institute of Advanced Studies) on Friday, October 14 at 3 pm.


Title: Climate change and labour-saving technologies: the twin transition in patent texts


This Talk intends to provide a direct understanding of the twin transition from the innovative activity domain. It will start with a technological mapping of the technological innovations characterised by both climate change mitigation and labour-saving attributes. To accomplish the task, I draw on the universe of patent grants in the USPTO since 1976 to 2021 reporting the Y02-Y04S tagging scheme, defined by the USPTO as patents referring to climate change mitigation technologies. After the identification of green technologies, by means of a textual-content algorithm, we identify those patents reporting an explicit labour-saving heuristic. I characterise their technological, sectoral and time evolutions. According to our analysis, many of the technologies addressing climate change transition, as renovation of buildings or energy efficiency, and eventual occupations involved in their use, such as installers of photovoltaic panels, are characterised by increasing labour-efficiency in their production and adoption. In particular green technologies haracterized by labour saving (LS) heuristics exert much more pronounced growth rates with respect to the no LS ones. Our findings challenge the common understanding of the ”green transition” as only labour augmenting. Potentially, the capacity of the ”green” segment as a net labour-absorber is weaker than commonly expected.
Direct policy interventions are necessary beyond adaptation policies to ”green skills” currently envisaged by institutions.


Oct 14, 2022


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