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To Leave or Not to Leave? Climate Change, Exit, and Voice on a Pacific Island

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  • Ilan Noy

Abstract

Observers predict that climate change will lead to massive migrations. Yet, most of the empirical micro- and macro-research on the link between climate change and migration fails to find much evidence of this migration happening. We focus on Tuvalu, a small South Pacific atoll nation that can serve as the canary in the mine for climate change research. If migration driven by climate change is not happening, Tuvalu may explain why. One plausible reason is the desire by Tuvaluans to Voice. ‘Voicing’, a concept we borrow from Hirschman’s Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, is the advocacy of expressing wish for change. We argue that Tuvaluans have decided that their preferred policy is to stay and Voice. This present choice to Voice may explain why the evidence on climate-induced migration is so fragile. Tuvalu may be using Voice to attempt to avert dire outcomes, or to strengthen its bargaining position for the discussions about compensation. The risk may be that the equilibrium choice between Voice and Exit is unstable and that the transition from one strategy to the other may be abrupt—in response to a catastrophic disaster. Advance planning and funding for climate-induced migration are therefore necessary through the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

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  • Ilan Noy, 2017. "To Leave or Not to Leave? Climate Change, Exit, and Voice on a Pacific Island," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(4), pages 403-420.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:403-420.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cesifo/ifx004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michel Beine & Christopher R Parsons, 2017. "Climatic Factors as Determinants of International Migration: Redux," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(4), pages 386-402.
    2. Michel Beine & Lionel Jeusette, 2018. "A Meta-Analysis of the Literature on Climate Change and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 7417, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Tauisi Taupo & Harold Cuffe & Ilan Noy, 2018. "Household vulnerability on the frontline of climate change: the Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 20(4), pages 705-739, October.
    4. Michel Beine & Lionel Jeusette, 2018. "A Meta-Analysis of the Literature on Climate Change and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 7417, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environment; international migration; protection; risk management; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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