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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 (PST)

Manchester Grand Hyatt, 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.

Climate Change, Structural Transformation, and Infrastructure: Evidence from India

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

Abstract

In developing economies with large productivity gaps, reallocation of workers both across space and sectors is crucial for economic development as it allows for a more efficient allocation of human capital. In this paper, we examine how rising temperatures under climate change affect the pace of reallocation of workers within local labor markets. Specifically, relying on six decades of district-level census data from India, we explore how decadal changes in temperature have affected urbanization and structural transformation within districts. We find evidence that rising temperatures are associated with lower rates of urbanization, higher shares of workers in agriculture, and lower shares of workers in non-agriculture. These effects are concentrated in districts with sparse road infrastructure networks, suggesting that higher temperatures exacerbate liquidity constraints faced by rural, isolated households, and subsequently limit rural-urban and sectoral mobility. Our findings demonstrate that the impacts of climate change can be unequal even within a country, and are aggravated by underdevelopment.
Discussant(s)
John Hoddinott
,
Cornell University
JEL Classifications
  • Q5 - Environmental Economics