Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy
Climate variability has the potential to affect both international and internal migration profoundly. Earlier work finds that higher temperatures reduce agricultural yields, which in turn reduces migration rates in low-income countries, due to liquidity constraints. We test whether access to irrigation modulates this temperature–migration relationship, since irrigation buffers agricultural incomes from high temperatures. 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 robust evidence that, for poor countries, irrigation access significantly offsets the negative effect of increasing temperatures on internal migration, as proxied by urbanisation rates. Our results demonstrate the importance of considering access to alternative adaptation strategies when analysing the temperature-migration relationship.
Agriculture, climate change, international migration, irrigation, rural-urban migration
Benonnier, Théo; Millock, Katrin; and Taraz, Vis, "Long-Term Migration Trends and Rising Temperatures: The Role of Irrigation" (2021). Economics: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.