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Can farmers adapt to higher temperatures? Evidence from India

Vis Taraz

World Development, 2018, vol. 112, issue C, 205-219

Abstract: Projections suggest that the damages from climate change will be substantial for developing countries. Understanding the ability of households in these countries to adapt to climate change is critical in order to determine the magnitude of the potential damages. In this paper, I investigate the ability of farmers in India to adapt to higher temperatures. I use a methodology that exploits short-term weather fluctuations as well as spatial variation in long-run climate. Specifically, I estimate how damaging high temperatures are for districts that experience high temperatures more or less frequently. I find that the losses from high temperatures are lower in heat-prone districts, a result that is consistent with adaptation. However, while adaptation appears to be modestly effective for moderate levels of heat, my results suggest that adaptation to extreme heat is much more difficult. Extremely high temperatures do grave damage to crops, even in places that experience these temperature extremes regularly. The persistence of negative impacts of high temperatures, even in areas that experience high temperatures frequently, underscores the need for development policies that emphasize risk mitigation and explicitly account for climate-change-related risks.

Keywords: Adaptation; Climate change; Agriculture; India; Crop choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O1 O3 Q1 Q5 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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