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Environmental Influences on Human Migration in Rural Ecuador

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  • Clark Gray

    ()

  • Richard Bilsborrow

Abstract

The question of whether environmental conditions influence human migration has recently gained considerable attention, driven by claims that global environmental change will displace large populations. Despite this high level of interest, few quantitative studies have investigated the potential effects of environmental factors on migration, particularly in the developing world and for gradual but pervasive forms of environmental change. To address this, a retrospective migration survey was conducted in rural Ecuador and linked to data on topography, climate, and weather shocks. These data were used to estimate multivariate event history models of alternative forms of mobility (local mobility, internal migration, and international migration), controlling for a large number of covariates. This approach is generalizable to other study areas and responds to calls for the development of more rigorous methods in this field. The results indicate that adverse environmental conditions do not consistently increase rural out-migration and, in some cases, reduce migration. Instead, households respond to environmental factors in diverse ways, resulting in complex migratory responses. Overall, the results support an alternative narrative of environmentally induced migration that recognizes the adaptability of rural households in responding to environmental change. Copyright Population Association of America 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Clark Gray & Richard Bilsborrow, 2013. "Environmental Influences on Human Migration in Rural Ecuador," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1217-1241, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:50:y:2013:i:4:p:1217-1241
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-012-0192-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michel Beine & Lionel Jeusette, 2018. "A Meta-Analysis of the Literature on Climate Change and Migration," CREA Discussion Paper Series 18-05, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    2. Cattaneo, Cristina & Peri, Giovanni, 2016. "The migration response to increasing temperatures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 127-146.
    3. Clark Gray & Erika Wise, 2016. "Country-specific effects of climate variability on human migration," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 555-568, April.
    4. Vally Koubi & Sebastian Stoll & Gabriele Spilker, 2016. "Perceptions of environmental change and migration decisions," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 439-451, October.
    5. Chiara Falco & Marzio Galeotti & Alessandro Olper, 2018. "Climate change and Migration: Is Agriculture the Main Channel?," IEFE Working Papers 100, IEFE, Center for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    6. Jean-François Maystadt & Valerie Mueller & Ashwini Sebastian, 2016. "Environmental Migration and Labor Markets in Nepal," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 417-452.
    7. Karl S. Zimmerer & Steven J. Vanek, 2016. "Toward the Integrated Framework Analysis of Linkages among Agrobiodiversity, Livelihood Diversification, Ecological Systems, and Sustainability amid Global Change," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-28, April.
    8. Raphael J. Nawrotzki & Jack DeWaard & Maryia Bakhtsiyarava & Jasmine Trang Ha, 2017. "Climate shocks and rural-urban migration in Mexico: exploring nonlinearities and thresholds," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 140(2), pages 243-258, January.
    9. Javier Baez & German Caruso & Valerie Mueller & Chiyu Niu, 2017. "Droughts augment youth migration in Northern Latin America and the Caribbean," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 423-435, February.
    10. Mbaye, Linguere Mously & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2016. "Natural Disasters and Human Mobility," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 10(1), pages 37-56, November.
    11. repec:dem:demres:v:38:y:2018:i:14 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:gam:jlands:v:5:y:2016:i:2:p:10:d:68661 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Margaret Buck Holland & Sierra Zaid Shamer & Pablo Imbach & Juan Carlos Zamora & Claudia Medellin Moreno & Efraín J. Leguía Hidalgo & Camila I. Donatti & M. Ruth Martínez-Rodríguez & Celia A. Harvey, 2017. "Mapping adaptive capacity and smallholder agriculture: applying expert knowledge at the landscape scale," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 139-153, March.
    14. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:5:p:1405-:d:144280 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Thiede, Brian C., 2014. "Rainfall Shocks and Within-Community Wealth Inequality: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 181-193.

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