C13

Another Inconvenient Truth: Climate change and migration in sub-Saharan Africa

Luca Marchiori1, Jean-Francois Maystadt 1, Ingmar Schumacher1
1CORE, Belgium, 2Universite catholique de Louvain, Belgium, 3University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 4IRES, Belgium, 5Ecole Polytechnique Paris, France

This paper analyzes the effects of climate change on international migration from a theoretical and empirical point of view. Theoretically, we extend the New Economic Geography model by Picard and Zeng (2005) that features rural-urban and international migration by allowing climate change to affect countries’ agricultural sectors non uniformly. We find that, in the most likely parameter combinations, climate change induces out-migration through two channels, a direct one which is related to the consumer surplus and an indirect one which affects average wages. We then empirically assess the impact of climate change on international migration in an annual, cross-country panel data set for sub-Saharan Africa. We assess the direct and indirect effects of climate change on net migration through a system of equations. Our results suggest that climate change induces emigration through its indirect effect on the economic incentives to migrate. Consistently with the theoretical framework, we also find that when endogeneity is dealt with, urbanization is a pull-factor and therefore, mitigates the effect of climate change on international migration. Overall, changes in temperature and rainfall induced a displacement of about 2.55 million people in net terms over the period 1960-2000, corresponding to an annual average of 0.016% of the sub-Saharan African population. Towards the end of this century, predicted changes in temperature and rainfall would lead to an additional annual displacement of about 1.3 million people, representing about 0.26% of the sub-Saharan African population.

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