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Climate, Conflict and Forced Migration

Author

Listed:
  • Guy Abel

    (School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University)

  • Michael Brottrager

    (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University)

  • Jesus Crespo Cuaresma

    (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics and Business)

  • Raya Muttarak

    (School of International Development, University of East Anglia)

Abstract

Despite the lack of robust empirical evidence, a growing number of media reports attempt to link climate change to the ongoing violent conflicts in Syria and other parts of the world, as well as to the migration crisis in Europe. Exploiting bilateral data on asylum seeking applications for 157 countries over the period 2006-2015, we assess the determinants of refugee flows using a gravity model which accounts for endogenous selection in order to examine the causal link between climate, conflict and forced migration. Our results indicate that climatic conditions, by affecting drought severity and the likelihood of armed conflict, played a significant role as an explanatory factor for asylum seeking in the period 2011-2015. The effect of climate on conflict occurrence is particularly relevant for countries in Western Asia in the period 2010-2012 during when many countries were undergoing political transformation. This finding suggests that the impact of climate on conflict and asylum seeking flows is limited to specific time period and contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • Guy Abel & Michael Brottrager & Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Raya Muttarak, 2018. "Climate, Conflict and Forced Migration," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp272, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwwuw:wuwp272
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerónimo Barrios Puente & Francisco Perez & Robert J. Gitter, 2016. "The Effect of Rainfall on Migration from Mexico to the United States," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 890-909, December.
    2. Andreas Backhaus & Inmaculada Martinez-Zarzoso & Chris Muris, 2015. "Do climate variations explain bilateral migration? A gravity model analysis," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-15, December.
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    5. Michel Beine & Christopher Parsons, 2015. "Climatic Factors as Determinants of International Migration," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(2), pages 723-767, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    forced migration; climate change; conflict;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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