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Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration

Michał Burzyński (), Jaime de Melo, Christoph Deuster and Frédéric Docquier ()

No 13997, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: This paper investigates the long-term implications of climate change on local, interregional, and international migration of workers. For nearly all of the world's countries, our micro-founded model jointly endogenizes the effects of changing temperature and sea level on income distribution and individual decisions about fertility, education, and mobility. Climate change intensifies poverty and income inequality creating favorable conditions for urbanization and migration from low- to high-latitude countries. Encompassing slow- and fast-onset mechanisms, our projections suggest that climate change will induce the voluntary and forced displacement of 100 to 160 million workers (200 to 300 million climate migrants of all ages) over the course of the 21st century. However, under current migration laws and policies, forcibly displaced people predominantly relocate within their country and merely 20% of climate migrants opt for long-haul migration to OECD countries. If climate change induces generalized and persistent conflicts over resources in regions at risk, we project significantly larger cross-border flows in the future.

Keywords: climate change; Conflicts; inequality; migration; Urbanization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E24 F22 J24 J61 Q15 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-int and nep-lma
Date: 2019-09
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Working Paper: Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration (2019) Downloads
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