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Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration

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  • Burzynski, Michal
  • de Melo, Jaime
  • Deuster, Christoph
  • Docquier, Frédéric

Abstract

This paper investigates the long-term implications of climate change on local, interregional, and international migration of workers. For nearly all of the world's countries, our micro-founded model jointly endogenizes the effects of changing temperature and sea level on income distribution and individual decisions about fertility, education, and mobility. Climate change intensifies poverty and income inequality creating favorable conditions for urbanization and migration from low- to high-latitude countries. Encompassing slow- and fast-onset mechanisms, our projections suggest that climate change will induce the voluntary and forced displacement of 100 to 160 million workers (200 to 300 million climate migrants of all ages) over the course of the 21st century. However, under current migration laws and policies, forcibly displaced people predominantly relocate within their country and merely 20% of climate migrants opt for long-haul migration to OECD countries. If climate change induces generalized and persistent conflicts over resources in regions at risk, we project significantly larger cross-border flows in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Burzynski, Michal & de Melo, Jaime & Deuster, Christoph & Docquier, Frédéric, 2019. "Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 13997, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13997
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    3. Marchetta, Francesca & Sahn, David E. & Tiberti, Luca & Dufour, Johany, 2021. "Heterogeneity in Migration Responses to Climate Shocks: Evidence from Madagascar," IZA Discussion Papers 14052, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Michel Beine & Lionel Jeusette, 2018. "A Meta-Analysis of the Literature on Climate Change and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 7417, CESifo.
    5. Camilo Bohorquez-Penuela & Andrea Otero-Cortes, 2020. "Blame it on the Rain: The Effects of Weather Shocks on Formal Rural Employment in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo Sobre Economía Regional y Urbana 018404, Banco de la República - Economía Regional.
    6. Michel BEINE & Lionel JEUSETTE, 2021. "A Meta-analysis of the Literature on Climate Change and Migration," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 293-344, September.
    7. Michał Burzyński & Frédéric DOCQUIER & Hendrik SCHEEWEL, 2021. "The Geography of Climate Migration," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 345-381, September.
    8. Michel Beine & Ilan Noy & Christopher Parsons, 2021. "Climate change, migration and voice," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 167(1), pages 1-27, July.
    9. Feyen,Erik H.B. & Utz,Robert Johann & Zuccardi Huertas,Igor Esteban & Bogdan,Olena & Moon,Jisung, 2020. "Macro-Financial Aspects of Climate Change," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9109, The World Bank.
    10. Marina Murat, 2020. "Emigration and development. What are the links?," Department of Economics (DEMB) 0181, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    11. Cassin, Lesly & Melindi-Ghidi, Paolo & Prieur, Fabien, 2022. "Confronting climate change: Adaptation vs. migration in Small Island Developing States," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    12. Marius Braun, 2021. "A Real-Options Analysis of Climate Change and International Migration," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202138, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    13. Martinez Flores, Fernanda & Milusheva, Sveta & Reichert, Arndt R., 2021. "Climate anomalies and international migration: A disaggregated analysis for West Africa," Ruhr Economic Papers 910, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    14. Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Lagoarde-Segot, Thomas & Woitek, Ulrich, 2020. "The irreversible welfare cost of climate anomalies. Evidence from Japan (1872-1917)," Discussion Paper Series 704, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    15. Simone Bertoli & Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport & Ilse Ruyssen, 2022. "Weather shocks and migration intentions in Western Africa: insights from a multilevel analysis [Do climate variations explain bilateral migration? A gravity model analysis]," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 289-323.
    16. Thu Hien Dao & Frédéric Docquier & Mathilde Maurel & Pierre Schaus, 2021. "Global migration in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: the unstoppable force of demography," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 157(2), pages 417-449, May.
    17. Beine, Michel & Noy, Ilan & Parsons, Christopher, 2019. "Climate Change, Migration and Voice: An Explanation for the Immobility Paradox," IZA Discussion Papers 12640, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Braun, Marius, 2022. "A Real-Options Analysis of Climate Change and International Migration," VfS Annual Conference 2022 (Basel): Big Data in Economics 264006, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    19. Soheil Shayegh & Johannes Emmerling & Massimo Tavoni, 2022. "International Migration Projections across Skill Levels in the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(8), pages 1-33, April.
    20. Marina Murat, 2020. "Emigration and development. What are the links?," Department of Economics 0181, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate change; Conflicts; inequality; migration; Urbanization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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