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Climate, Conflict and Forced Migration

Author

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  • Abel, Guy

    ()

  • Brottrager, Michael
  • Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus

    ()

  • Muttarak, Raya

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

  • Abel, Guy & Brottrager, Michael & Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus & Muttarak, Raya, 2018. "Climate, Conflict and Forced Migration," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 6625, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wus005:6625
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:bla:intmig:v:50:y:2016:i:4:p:890-909 is not listed on IDEAS
    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.
    3. repec:oup:cesifo:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:445-480. is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Drabo, Alassane & Mbaye, Linguère Mously, 2015. "Natural disasters, migration and education: an empirical analysis in developing countries," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(6), pages 767-796, December.
    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.
    6. Jasmin Gröschl & Thomas Steinwachs, 2017. "Do Natural Hazards Cause International Migration?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(4), pages 445-480.
    7. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
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    Keywords

    forced migration; climate change; conflict;

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