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When nature rebels: international migration, climate change and inequality


  • Luca Marchiori

    (UCL IRES - Institut de recherches économiques et sociales - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Ingmar Schumacher

    (Department of Economics - Universität Trier, Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - Polytechnique - X - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


This article analyzes the link between climate change and international migration. We use a two-country overlapping generations model with endogenous climate change, in which the production in the North generates climate change which negatively affects the productivity of the South. Our main findings are: (i) climate change will increase migration; (ii) small impacts of climate change have significant impacts on the number of migrants; (iv) a laxer immigration policy increases long- run migration, reduces climate change, increases North-South inequality if DRTS are significant; (v) a greener technology reduces long-run migration, provides a double- dividend in favor of the environment, reduces inequality if the migrants' impact to overall climate change is large. The preference over the policies thus depends on whether the policy maker targets inequality, wealth, the number of migrants or the environment, but the qualitative ranking between the policies does not change if the policies are costly.

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  • Luca Marchiori & Ingmar Schumacher, 2009. "When nature rebels: international migration, climate change and inequality," Working Papers hal-00358759, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00358759
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean-Pierre Vidal & Philippe Michel & Bertrand Crettez, 1996. "Time preference and labour migration in an OLG model with land and capital," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(4), pages 387-403.
    2. Morris, Saul S. & Neidecker-Gonzales, Oscar & Carletto, Calogero & Munguia, Marcial & Medina, Juan Manuel & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Hurricane Mitch and the Livelihoods of the Rural Poor in Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 49-60, January.
    3. Beine, Michel & Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2001. "Brain drain and economic growth: theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 275-289, February.
    4. Bencivenga, Valerie R & Smith, Bruce D, 1997. "Unemployment, Migration, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 582-608, June.
    5. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
    6. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-283, April.
    7. Galor, Oded, 1986. "Time preference and international labor migration," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 1-20, February.
    8. Ghatak, Subrata & Levine, Paul & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 1996. " Migration Theories and Evidence: An Assessment," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 159-198, June.
    9. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1999. "Migration and pension with international capital mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 141-150, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:cesifo:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:445-480. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Camacho, Carmen & Pérez-Barahona, Agustín, 2015. "Land use dynamics and the environment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 96-118.
    3. repec:spr:homoec:v:34:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s41412-017-0038-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Yoshito Takasaki, 2013. "Do natural disasters beget fraud victimization?: Unrealized coping through labor migration among the poor," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2013-002, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
    5. Drabo, Alassane & Mbaye, Linguère Mously, 2011. "Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Migration: An Empirical Analysis in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 5927, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Francesco Nicolli & Giulia Bettin, 2012. "Does climate change foster emigration from less developed countries? Evidence from bilateral data," Working Papers 201210, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
    7. Jasmin Katrin Gröschl, 2013. "Gravity Model Applications and Macroeconomic Perspectives," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 48, April.
    8. Jasmin Gröschl & Thomas Steinwachs, 2017. "Do Natural Hazards Cause International Migration?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(4), pages 445-480.
    9. Ariel R. Belasen & Solomon W. Polachek, 2013. "Natural disasters and migration," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 17, pages 309-330 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Luca Marchiori & Patrice Pieretti & Benteng Zou, 2014. "Immigration, occupational choice and public employment," CREA Discussion Paper Series 14-15, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    11. Caliendo, Marco & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Hennecke, Juliane & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2015. "Job Search, Locus of Control, and Internal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 9600, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Fabien Prieur & Ingmar Schumacher, 2016. "The role of conflict for optimal climate and immigration policy," Working Papers 2016.27, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    13. Marchiori, Luca & Maystadt, Jean-François & Schumacher, Ingmar, 2012. "The impact of weather anomalies on migration in sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 355-374.
    14. Robert McLeman, 2013. "Developments in modelling of climate change-related migration," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 117(3), pages 599-611, April.
    15. Ingrid Dallmann & Katrin Millock, 2016. "Climate Variability and Internal Migration: A Test on Indian Inter-State Migration," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00825807, HAL.
    16. repec:mse:cesdoc:13045 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    inequality; climate change; migration; North-South model; overlapping generations; inequality.;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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