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Climate Change Adaptation in Developing Countries: Constraints on Adaptation and Mechanisms for Relaxing Them

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Mission Beach A
Hosted By: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association
  • Chair: Vis Taraz, Smith College

Credit Access, Migration, and Climate Change Adaptation in Rural Bangladesh

Joyce Chen
,
Ohio State University
Jon Einar Flatnes
,
Ohio State University

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of flooding on migration in Bangladesh and examines whether migration responses are mitigated by access to credit. Using unique data from a household survey conducted in rural Bangladesh shortly after the 1998 flood, the authors estimate the effect of flooding on both permanent and temporary migration. The authors utilize a difference‐in‐differences approach that relies on randomized early access to microfinance. Flood exposure is based on village‐level reports of flood intensity, which can be treated as exogenous to individual households. The authors find that flooding led to increased temporary migration, with no effect on permanent migration. Moreover, access to credit several years earlier fully mitigates the migration effect, suggesting that credit access allows farmers to cope with severe climate events without having to migrate. This study thus provides an important contribution to the broader literature on climate change adaptation, by demonstrating that relieving credit constraints could enhance local livelihood strategies during environmental hazards, without deterring gradual permanent migration away from vulnerable areas.

Do Social Protection Programs Foster Short‐Term and Long‐Term Migration Adaptation Strategies?

Valerie Mueller
,
Arizona State University
Clark Gray
,
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Sudhanshu Handa
,
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
David Seidenfeld
,
American Institutes for Research

Abstract

This paper examines how migration is influenced by temperature and precipitation variability, and the extent to which the receipt of a cash transfer affects the use of migration as an adaptation strategy. Climate data is merged with georeferenced panel data (2010‐2014) on individual migration collected from the Zambian Child Grant Program (CGP) sites. We use the person‐year dataset to identify the direct and heterogeneous causal effects of the CGP on mobility. Having access to cash transfers doubles the rate of male, short‐distance moves during cool periods irrespective of wealth. Receipt of cash transfers(among wealthier households) during extreme heat causes an additional retention of males. Cash transfers positively spur long‐distance migration under normal climate conditions in the long term. They also facilitate short‐distance responses to climate, but not long‐distance responses that might be demanded by future climate change.

Has Climate Change Driven Structural Transformation in India?

Maggie Liu
,
Smith College
Yogita Shamdasani
,
University of Pittsburgh
Vis Taraz
,
Smith College

Abstract

Crop yields in India are projected to decrease significantly as temperatures rise and climate
change accelerates. It is critical to understand how agricultural households can adapt to these changes. Recent research demonstrates that sectoral shifts (e.g. into industry) can cushion the blow of short‐term weather shocks, but the importance of sectoral shifts in mitigating longer‐term climate losses has not been explored. In this paper, the authors use census data spanning 60 years (1961‐2011) to explore how long‐run changes in climate have driven short‐distance migration, urbanization, and structural transformation. The authors find that rising temperatures are associated with less intra‐district migration, lower urbanization, and higher shares of workers in the agricultural sector. These robust findings suggest evidence of a poverty trap, in which adverse climate shocks exacerbate the liquidity constraint faced by rural households and limit the pace of structural transformation. However, the authors also find that improved market access, in the form of better developed road networks, can soften this poverty trap effect.
Discussant(s)
John Hoddinott
,
Cornell University
JEL Classifications
  • Q5 - Environmental Economics