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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. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
  2. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2007. "Self-selection patterns in Mexico-U.S. migration: The role of migration networks," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0701, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Timothy Halliday, 2005. "Migration, Risk and Liquidity Constraints in El Salvador," Working Papers 200511, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics, revised 28 Mar 2006.
  4. Frederic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Globalization, brain drain and development," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1108, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. 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.
  6. Barrios, Salvador & Bertinelli, Luisito & Strobl, Eric, 2006. "Climatic change and rural-urban migration: The case of sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 357-371, November.
  7. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David, 2009. "The Microeconomic Determinants of Emigration and Return Migration of the Best and Brightest: Evidence from the Pacific," IZA Discussion Papers 3926, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frédéric & Özden, Çaglar, 2011. "Diasporas," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 30-41, May.
  9. 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.
  10. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2009. "Temperature and Income: Reconciling New Cross-Sectional and Panel Estimates," NBER Working Papers 14680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "What Fundamentals Drive World Migration?," NBER Working Papers 9159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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).
  14. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 465-486, 09.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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