Come have lunch each week with young researchers from EPIC at this interdisciplinary lunch and learn series. This week will feature “Green Transition Lessons from the 2014 Oil Price Shock” with Rebecca Frost.



This paper uses the 2014 oil price shock as a historical experiment to explore the potential challenges faced by workers displaced from the Canadian oil and gas sector during a transition to a low-carbon economy. I find that displaced workers experienced a substantial drop in their earnings upon finding new employment, but the extent of this drop varied widely between the different industries they were rehired into. Jobs in construction and manufacturing allowed workers to recover their pre-displacement earnings, while jobs in retail trade, wholesale trade, transportation, and warehousing were associated with large losses in earnings. Workers who ended up in the lowest-paid industries after being displaced tended to have been the highest earners prior to displacement. Displacement made workers more likely to hold temporary jobs and jobs that required less than their level of education. I find evidence that many displaced university-educated workers ended up in jobs they were overqualified for and that this was associated with a very large drop in earnings. This indicates that, while the construction and manufacturing jobs typically created by green energy investment may benefit displaced fossil fuel workers, stranded human capital may become an issue for highly-skilled workers displaced from this sector.