Climatic Factors as Determinants of International Migration

45 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2015

See all articles by Michel A. R. Beine

Michel A. R. Beine

University of Luxemburg; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Christopher Parsons

University of Oxford; International Migration Institute

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2015


We examine natural disasters and long‐run climatic factors as potential determinants of international migration, implementing a panel dataset of bilateral migration flows from 1960 to 2000. We find no direct effect of long‐run climatic factors on international migration across our entire sample. These results are robust when conditioning on origin‐country characteristics, when considering migrants returning home, and when accounting for the potential endogeneity of migrant networks. Rather, we find evidence of indirect effects of environmental factors operating through wages. We find that epidemics and miscellaneous incidents spur international migration, and there is strong evidence that natural disasters beget greater flows of migrants to urban environs.

Keywords: Environmental change, natural disasters, utility maximization

JEL Classification: F22, O15

Suggested Citation

Beine, Michel A. R. and Parsons, Christopher, Climatic Factors as Determinants of International Migration (April 2015). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 117, Issue 2, pp. 723-767, 2015. Available at SSRN: or

Michel A. R. Beine (Contact Author)

University of Luxemburg ( email )

L-1511 Luxembourg

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

Christopher Parsons

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

International Migration Institute ( email )

3 Mansfield Road
Oxford, OX1 3TB
United Kingdom

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