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Climatic factors as determinants of International Migration

  • Michel BEINE

    ()

    (University of Luxembourg, UCL-IRES and CES-Ifo)

  • Christopher PARSONS

    (University of Nottingham, UK)

In this paper, we examine environmental factors as potential determinants of international migration. We distinguish between unexpected short-run factors, captured by natural disasters, as well as long-run climate change and climate variability captured by deviations and volatilities of temperatures and rainfall from and around their long-run averages. We start from a simple neo-classical model, which is augmented to include environmental factors at origin in the form of amenities. We then test the model using a panel dataset of bilateral migration flows for the period 1960-2000, the time and dyadic dimensions of which additionally allow us to control for numerous time-varying and time invariant factors. Using our primary specification, having accounted for other well documented determinants of migration, we find no direct impact of climatic change on international migration in the medium to long run across our entire sample. These results are robust when further considering migrants returning home. Conditioning our regressions upon origin country characteristics, we find evidence that shortfalls in precipitation constrain migration to developing countries from those which rely more heavily upon agriculture and spur movements to developing countries from those with fewer groundwater reserves. We further use the rate of urbanization as a proxy for internal migration and find strong evidence that natural disasters beget greater flows of migrants to urban environs.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2012002.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 12 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2012002
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  1. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2010. "The erosion of colonial trade linkages after independence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-14, May.
  2. Halliday, Timothy, 2006. "Migration, Risk, and Liquidity Constraints in El Salvador," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 893-925, July.
  3. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frederic & Ozden, Caglar, 2009. "Diasporas," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4984, The World Bank.
  4. John Gibson & David McKenzie, 2009. "The Microeconomic Determinants of Emigration and Return Migration of the Best and Brightest: Evidence from the Pacific," Working Papers 173, Center for Global Development.
  5. Salvador Barrios & Luisito Bertinelli & Eric Strobl, 2006. "Climatic Change and Rural-Urban Migration: The Case of Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 06-01, Asociación Española de Economía y Finanzas Internacionales.
  6. Naude, Wim, 2008. "Conflict, Disasters, and No Jobs: Reasons for International Migration from Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Paper Series RP2008/85, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "What Fundamentals Drive World Migration?," NBER Working Papers 9159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. McFadden, Daniel L., 1984. "Econometric analysis of qualitative response models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 1395-1457 Elsevier.
  9. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  10. Frédéric DOCQUIER & Hillel RAPOPORT, 2011. "Globalization, brain drain and development," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011009, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  11. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
  12. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  13. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration Out of Africa," NBER Working Papers 8124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," NBER Working Papers 13821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Temperature and Income: Reconciling New Cross-Sectional and Panel Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 198-204, May.
  16. Richard Black & Dominic Kniveton & Kerstin Schmidt-Verkerk, 2011. "Migration and climate change: towards an integrated assessment of sensitivity," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 43(2), pages 431-450, February.
  17. Davis, James C. & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2003. "Evidence on the political economy of the urbanization process," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 98-125, January.
  18. Salvador Barrios & Luisito Bertinelli & Eric Strobl, 2010. "Trends in Rainfall and Economic Growth in Africa: A Neglected Cause of the African Growth Tragedy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 350-366, May.
  19. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2008. "Climate Change and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century," NBER Working Papers 14132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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