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Distributional implications of climate change in India

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  • Jacoby, Hanan
  • Rabassa, Mariano
  • Skoufias, Emmanuel

Abstract

Global warming is expected to heavily impact agriculture, the dominant source of livelihood for the world's poor. Yet, little is known about the distributional implications of climate change at the sub-national level. Using a simple comparative statics framework, this paper analyzes how changes in the prices of land, labor, and food induced by modest temperature increases over the next three decades will affect household-level welfare in India. The authors predict a substantial fall in agricultural productivity, even allowing for farmer adaptation. Yet, this decline will not translate into a sharp drop in consumption for the majority of rural households, who derive their income largely from wage employment. Overall, the welfare costs of climate change fall disproportionately on the poor. This is true in urban as well as in rural areas, but, in the latter sector only after accounting for the effects of rising world cereal prices. Adaptation appears to primarily benefit the non-poor, since they own the lion's share of agricultural land. The results suggest that poverty in India will be roughly 3-4 percentage points higher after thirty years of rising temperatures than it would have been had this warming not occurred.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacoby, Hanan & Rabassa, Mariano & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2011. "Distributional implications of climate change in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5623, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5623
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    2. Olivier Deschenes & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Evidence from Agricultural Profits and Random," NBER Working Papers 10663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, 2013. "Climate change, agriculture, and poverty: A household level analysis for rural Mexico," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1126-1139.
    2. Jayatilleke S. Bandara & Yiyong Cai, 2014. "The impact of climate change on food crop productivity, food prices and food security in South Asia," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 451-465.
    3. K.S. Kavi Kumar & Kamal Karunagoda & Enamul Haque & L. Venkatachelam & Girish Nath Bahal, 2012. "Addressing Long-term Challenges to Food Security and Rural Livelihoods in South Asia," Working Papers 2012-075, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    4. Birthal, Pratap S. & Negi, Digvijay S. & Khan, Md. Tajuddin & Agarwal, Shaily, 2015. "Is Indian agriculture becoming resilient to droughts? Evidence from rice production systems," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-12.
    5. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Rabassa, Mariano & Olivieri, Sergio & Brahmbhatt, Milan, 2011. "The Poverty Impacts of Climate Change," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 51, pages 1-5, March.
    6. Birthal, P.S. & Negi, Digvijay S. & Kumar, Shiv & Aggarwal, Shaily & Suresh, A. & Khan, Md. Tajuddin, 2014. "How Sensitive is Indian Agriculture to Climate Change?," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-14.
    7. Birthal, P.S. & Khan, T.M. & Negi, D.S. & Agarwal, S., 2014. "Impact of Climate Change on Yields of Major Food Crops in India: Implications for Food Security," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 0(Number 2).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate Change Economics; Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases; Science of Climate Change; Rural Poverty Reduction; Regional Economic Development;

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