Long Term Migration Trends and Climate Change
The role of irrigation. With Théo Benonnier (ENS Cachan), Katrin Millock (PSE, CNRS) and Vis Taraz (Smith College).
Climate change will affect both international and internal migration. Earlier work finds evidence of a climate-migration poverty trap: higher temperatures reduce agricultural yields, which in turn reduce emigration rates in low-income countries, due to liquidity constraints.
We test whether access to irrigation modulates the climate-migration poverty trap, since irrigation protects crops from heat. We regress measures of international and internal migration on decadal averages of temperature and rainfall, interacted with country-level data on irrigation and income. We find that irrigation access significantly weakens the climate-migration poverty trap, demonstrating the importance of considering alternative adaptation strategies when analyzing climate migration.
Katrin Millock is Directrice de Recherche CNRS and Professor at Paris School of Economics. She holds a PhD in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and has extensive experience of teaching environmental and resource economics in academic institutions in the US, Scandinavia and the UK. Her research addresses both theoretical and empirical aspects of environmental economics and she has contributed to several evidence-based policy assessments for the French Ministry of Environment and the OECD, amongst other institutions. Her current research focuses on climate change and development, in particular climate-induced migration.
Photo: Irrigation project in Mozambique. Credit: Marcos Villalta / Save the Children