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Has climate change driven urbanization in Africa?

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  • Henderson, J. Vernon
  • Storeygard, Adam
  • Deichmann, Uwe

Abstract

This paper documents strong but differentiated links between climate and urbanization in large panels of districts and cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has dried substantially in the past fifty years. The key dimension of heterogeneity is whether cities are likely to have manufacturing for export outside their regions, as opposed to being exclusively market towns providing local services to agricultural hinterlands. In regions where cities are likely to be manufacturing centers (25% of our sample), drier conditions increase urbanization and total urban incomes. There, urban migration provides an "escape" from negative agricultural moisture shocks. However, in the remaining market towns (75% of our sample), cities just service agriculture. Reduced farm incomes from negative shocks reduce demand for urban services and derived demand for urban labor. There, drying has little impact on urbanization or total urban incomes. Lack of structural transformation in Africa inhibits a better response to climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Henderson, J. Vernon & Storeygard, Adam & Deichmann, Uwe, 2017. "Has climate change driven urbanization in Africa?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67654, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:67654
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Théo Benonnier & Katrin Millock & Vis Taraz, 2019. "Climate change, migration, and irrigation," PSE Working Papers halshs-02107098, HAL.
    3. Cui, X., 2018. "Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from US Acreage Response," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277094, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. J. Vernon Henderson & Sebastian Kriticos, 2018. "The Development of the African System of Cities," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 287-314, August.
    5. Christoph Deuster, 2019. "Climate change, education and mobility in Africa," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1904, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    6. Douglas Gollin & Martina Kirchberger & David Lagakos, 2017. "In Search of a Spatial Equilibrium in the Developing World," NBER Working Papers 23916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Andreas Eberhard-Ruiz & Alexander Moradi, 2018. "Regional Market Integration and City Growth in East Africa: Local but no Regional Effects?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2018-09, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:6:p:1741-:d:149046 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:wdevel:v:114:y:2019:i:c:p:13-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Henderson,J. Vernon & Nigmatulina,Dzhamilya & Kriticos,Sebastian Constantine Gilmour, 2018. "Measuring Urban Economic Density," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8678, The World Bank.
    11. repec:tpr:adbadr:v:34:y:2017:i:2:p:229-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Yalew, Amsalu W. & Hirte, Georg & Lotze-Campen, Hermann & Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2017. "Economic effects of climate change in developing countries: Economy-wide and regional analysis for Ethiopia," CEPIE Working Papers 10/17, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    13. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:10:p:3464-:d:172567 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. 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.
    15. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:12:p:4671-:d:188889 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Neeraj Baruah & J. Vernon Henderson & Cong Peng, 2017. "Colonial Legacies: Shaping African Cities," SERC Discussion Papers 0226, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    17. repec:eee:deveco:v:140:y:2019:i:c:p:255-268 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:4:p:951-999. is not listed on IDEAS
    19. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Urbanization; Climate Change;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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