Does climate change foster emigration from less developed countries? Evidence from bilateral data
The evolution of worldwide climatic conditions doubtless represents one of the major and uncertain challenges in the near future. The adaptation strategies might differ a lot according to local institutional, political and financial constraints but migration is certainly one of the main possibilities individuals have to escape from the most affected regions. Regional â€“ maybe temporary - small-scale movements might be the first, immediate response but international mobility as well is likely to take place in response to climatic variations. Empirical literature dealing with the effects of climate change on international migration is still rather scarce. In particular, it focuses on international migration to developed countries as a consequence of weather-related natural disasters while alternative measures for climate change based on deviations in temperature and rainfall from the long term means have been used only in a few studies. Building on this little empirical evidence, we collect ten-year bilateral data on international migration from 1960 to 2000 and look simultaneously at both anomalies in precipitations and temperature and weather-related natural disaster as determinants of international movements. The use of bilateral data let us consider not only long-distance migration (typically from low income to developed countries) but also short-distance regional movements. International migration is found to be significantly affected by different climate change proxies in the overall sample of countries, but results are confirmed also when focusing on specific geographical areas like Africa or Asia.
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