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Climate Anomalies and International Migration: A Disaggregated Analysis for West Africa

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  • Reichert, Arndt
  • Martinez Flores, Fernanda
  • Milusheva, Sveta

Abstract

West Africa is vulnerable to negative impacts of climate change and a potential channel of adjustment is migration. Using novel geo-referenced and high-frequency data, we investigate the extent to which soil moisture anomalies have an impact on international migration within the region and directed to Europe. Our findings show that drier soil conditions decrease rather than increase the probability to migrate. A standard deviation decrease in soil moisture leads to a 2 percentage points drop in the probability to migrate, which is equivalent to a decrease of about 25% in the number of migrants. This effect is concentrated during the crop-growing season, suggesting that the decrease in migration is mainly driven by financial constraints. The effect is only seen for areas that are in the middle of the income distribution, with no impact on the poorest or richest areas of a country.

Suggested Citation

  • Reichert, Arndt & Martinez Flores, Fernanda & Milusheva, Sveta, 2021. "Climate Anomalies and International Migration: A Disaggregated Analysis for West Africa," VfS Annual Conference 2021 (Virtual Conference): Climate Economics 242470, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc21:242470
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    West Africa; climate change; migration; agriculture;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • 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

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