Jun 22nd, 2021

Public investments in COVID-19 green recovery packages

This article analyses the size, sectoral allocation, and implementation choices of green recovery spending plans in France, Germany, and the UK, which differ markedly. France spends most, both in absolute and GDP-relative terms, followed by Germany.

Total UK spending is 43% less than France. The UK and France mostly support existing sectors (buildings, railways), while Germany focuses 57.8% of its funding on new technologies (electric vehicles, hydrogen). We explain these differences by identifying varying emphases on multiple motivations, including climate mitigation, jobs, GDP growth, productivity, exports, global competitiveness, regional support, social fairness, party politics, and electoral ambitions.

We relate these different motivations to context conditions such as varying socio-economic effects of the COVID-crisis, pre-existing concerns (e.g., high unemployment, social and regional inequalities), the economic importance of particular sectors, and pre-existing climate policy plans.

Instead of interpreting the crisis as providing a clean slate for policymakers to commit to green recoveries, we show that policy responses are powerfully shaped by pre-existing contexts, plans and developments.


  • Social, environmental & technological transitions




F. Geels, G. Pereira, J. Pinkse (2021) Public investments in COVID-19 green recovery packages: A comparative analysis of scale, scope, and implementation in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom The Productivity Institute working paper No.003