On Weather Disasters and International Migration:Empirical Model and Worldwide Forecast to 2060 Under Business As Usual

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Rafi REUVENY , Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Alexander ALEXEEV , Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Weather Disasters (WDs) have played a role in promoting internal and international migrations in a number of episodes, but it is unclear if they play a systematic or idiosyncratic role. Part of the problem is that the statistical literature on migration has essentially ignored their impacts. This research question is important, for the intensity and frequency of WDs are expect to grow due to global warming, and there are reasons to suspect that large waves of immigration may lead to violence between natives and newcomers in destination areas. We provide a step in exploring the role WDs play in migration by developing statistical models that anticipate the potential for heterogeneous migration responses to disasters and policy levers that might modify these responses. The unit of analysis for our models is the country pair- or dyad-year and we employ panel data for bilateral migration flows between 190 countries, from 1980 to 2009. We use the estimated model to develop a conservative forecasts for the total number of people that might migrate worldwide due to WDs as climate change progresses to 2060, assuming all else remains the same. Finally, we examine implications of our findings for illegal immigration, the possibility of violence between native and residents in destination countries, and adaptation and mitigation policies.