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Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration

Author

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  • Michal Burzynski

    () (LISER, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (Luxembourg))

  • Christoph Deuster

    () (IRES, UCLouvain (Belgium), and Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal))

  • Frederic Docquier

    () (LISER (Luxembourg), FNRS and IRES, UCLouvain (Belgium), and FERDI (France))

  • Jaime de Melo

    () (Universite de Geneve (Switzerland), CEPR (United Kingdom) and FERDI (France))

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 highlatitude 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

  • Michal Burzynski & Christoph Deuster & Frederic Docquier & Jaime de Melo, 2019. "Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2019014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2019014
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    Cited by:

    1. Kovács, Olivér, 2020. "Gazellák az iparpolitika tükrében, II [Gazelles and industrial policy, Part II]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(2), pages 181-205.
    2. Michel Beine & Lionel Jeusette, 2018. "A Meta-Analysis of the Literature on Climate Change and Migration," CESifo Working Paper Series 7417, CESifo.
    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. 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".
    5. 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.
    6. Simone BERTOLI & Frédéric DOCQUIER & Hillel RAPOPORT & Ilse RUYSSEN, 2019. "Weather shocks and migration intentions in Western Africa: Insights from a multilevel analysis," Working Paper c5999d24-4da2-42c5-8c94-e, Agence française de développement.
    7. Bruno Conte & Klaus Desmet & Dávid Krisztián Nagy & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2020. "Local Sectoral Specialization in a Warming World," Working Papers 1221, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    8. 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).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; Migration; Inequality; Urbanization; Conflicts;
    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
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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