50 Years of Urbanization in Africa: Examining the Role of Climate Change

44 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by J. Vernon Henderson

J. Vernon Henderson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Adam Storeygard

Tufts University

Uwe Deichmann

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: June 1, 2014

Abstract

This paper documents a significant impact of climate variation on urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa, primarily in more arid countries. By lowering farm incomes, reduced moisture availability encourages migration to nearby cities, while wetter conditions slow migration. The paper also provides evidence for rural-urban income links. In countries with a larger industrial base, reduced moisture shrinks the agricultural sector and raises total incomes in nearby cities. However, if local cities are entirely dependent on servicing agriculture so their fortunes move with those of agriculture, reduced moisture tends to reduce local urban incomes. Finally, the paper shows that climate induces employment changes within the rural sector itself. Drier conditions induce a shift out of farm activities, especially for women, into non-farm activities, and especially out of the workforce. Overall, these findings imply a strong link between climate and urbanization in Africa.

Keywords: Science of Climate Change, Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases, Population Policies, Climate Change Economics, Water Conservation

Suggested Citation

Henderson, J. Vernon and Storeygard, Adam and Deichmann, Uwe, 50 Years of Urbanization in Africa: Examining the Role of Climate Change (June 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6925, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2456048

J. Vernon Henderson (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Adam Storeygard

Tufts University ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

Uwe Deichmann

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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