Climate change and migration - a new working paper
- 16 May 2013
Is climate change a determinant of international migration? This latest working paper by Michel Beine and IMI's Christopher Parsons examines climatic factors as determinants of international migration
In this paper the authors Michel Beine and Christopher Parsons examines environmental change as a potential determinant of international migration. Beine and Parsons distinguish between unexpected short-term environmental factors – such as natural disasters – and long-term climate change and climate variability – such as deviations and volatilities of temperatures and rainfall from and around their long-run averages. Their starting point is a theoretical model in which a person chooses between staying at home in light of environmental change or else moving to another destination globally. Testing this model using a longitudinal dataset of bilateral migration flows over period 1960-2000, the study finds no direct impact of climatic change on international migration across the entire sample. The results are robust even when focusing attention on those origin countries that might be considered particularly vulnerable to environmental change. The study does however; find evidence of indirect environmental effects operating through economic channels. They also find strong evidence that natural disasters produce greater flows of migrants to urban environs.