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Sinem Ayhan
Sinem Ayhan
2023/24 Mercator-IPC Fellow

Sinem Ayhan earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Bologna. After completing her doctoral studies, she held various research positions in Germany, including at the Institute for Labor Economics (IZA), the University of Münster, and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). In February 2022, Sinem joined the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS) in Regensburg as a post-doc researcher.

Initially, Ayhan's research revolved around gender disparities in the labor market and employment policies in Turkey. However, her focus has shifted to the crossroads of climate change and labor economics over the past five years. During her time at the MCC, she worked on a project related to decarbonizing economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa, investigating the impacts of carbon pricing on household welfare and poverty.

Currently, Ayhan's research is centered on the labor market consequences of climate policies in Turkey. She specifically examines the concept of a just transition for mine workers in Turkey within the framework of a coal phaseout.

Just transition away from coal: A priori evidence from Turkey

The necessity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and restrict global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as mandated by the 2015 Paris Agreement, requires a rapid shift away from coal. This transition could result in job losses for nearly five million coal miners globally, with significant welfare implications. Securing the interests of affected workers and communities has increasingly become a crucial issue on the global policy agenda. The European Green Deal’s Just Transition Mechanism, for example, strives to ensure a fair and equitable transition to a climate-neutral economy.

This is especially relevant for Turkey, which is ranked among the top twenty coal producing countries and is also an EU candidate country. This research project aims to evaluate the potential welfare effects that may arise in the coal exit scenario in Turkey by empirically assessing job losses in the mining sector. The study will employ a micro-econometric analysis to quantify employment and earnings losses among miners transitioning out of the coal sector. Combining quantitative analysis with qualitative stakeholder interviews from specific coal regions, this research will compare findings from Turkey with transition experiences from the EU, notably Germany’s extensive mine closures. Ultimately, it aims to offer insights into compensation mechanisms essential for a just transition and early readiness for impacted workers.