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Natural disasters and human mobility

Author

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  • Mbaye, Linguère M.

    () (African Development Bank Group, and IZA)

  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.

    () (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University, and Harvard University)

Abstract

This paper reviews the effect of natural disasters on human mobility or migration. Although there is an increase of natural disasters and migration recently and more patterns to observe, the relationship remains complex. While some authors find that disasters increase migration, others show that they have only a marginal or no effect or are even negative. Human mobility appears to be an insurance mechanism against environmental shocks and there are different transmission channels which can explain the relationship between natural disasters and migration. Moreover, migrants' remittances help to decrease households' vulnerability to shocks but also dampen their adverse effects. The paper provides a discussion of policy implications and potential future research avenues.

Suggested Citation

  • Mbaye, Linguère M. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2016. "Natural disasters and human mobility," MERIT Working Papers 040, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2016040
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2016/wp2016-040.pdf
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    Keywords

    natural disasters; forced migration; remittances; Insurance; droughts; earthquakes; floods;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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