Climate Variability and International Migration: The Importance of the Agricultural Linkage

39 Pages Posted: 24 May 2014

See all articles by Ruohong Cai

Ruohong Cai

Princeton University

Shuaizhang Feng

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - Department of Economics; Princeton University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Mariola Pytliková

Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI); VSB - Technical University of Ostrava - Faculty of Economics; University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute)

Michael Oppenheimer

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Abstract

While there is considerable interest in understanding the climate-migration relationship, particularly in the context of concerns about global climatic change, little is known about underlying mechanisms. We analyze a unique and extensive set of panel data characterizing annual bilateral international migration flows from 163 origin countries to 42 OECD destination countries covering the last three decades. We find a positive and statistically significant relationship between temperature and international outmigration only in the most agriculture-dependent countries, consistent with the widely-documented adverse impact of temperature on agricultural productivity. In addition, migration flows to current major destinations are especially temperature-sensitive. Policies to address issues related to climate-induced international migration would be more effective if focused on the agriculture-dependent countries and especially people in those countries whose livelihoods depend on agriculture.

Keywords: international migration, climate variability, agricultural productivity

JEL Classification: Q54, J10

Suggested Citation

Cai, Ruohong and Feng, Shuaizhang and Pytliková, Mariola and Oppenheimer, Michael, Climate Variability and International Migration: The Importance of the Agricultural Linkage. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8183. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2441479

Ruohong Cai (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Shuaizhang Feng

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics - Department of Economics ( email )

777 Guoding Road
Shanghai, AK Shanghai 200433
China

Princeton University

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Mariola Pytliková

Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI) ( email )

Zvolenská 29
Bratislava, 82109
Slovakia

VSB - Technical University of Ostrava - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Sokolska 33
Ostrava 1, 701 21
Czech Republic

University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration ( email )

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute) ( email )

P.O. Box 882
7 Politickych veznu
Prague 1, 111 21
Czech Republic

Michael Oppenheimer

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Department of Geosciences
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
+1 609-258-2338 (Phone)

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