JCJC - Jeunes chercheuses et jeunes chercheurs

Migration and Environment – MIGREN

Submission summary

Global environmental threats, in particular climate change, have been identified as potential causes of large migration flows in the future (UNFPA, 2001). Although the climate is a global good, available projections indicate that climate change damages will differ significantly according to region and affect developing countries more than developed countries (IPCC, 2007). Future projections show a significant impact on African migration flows following climate-change induced water stress (Le Blanc and Perez, 2008). The objective of the project is to study the interlinkages between environmental policy and migration. Although this topic has been extensively researched in the geographical sciences, little modelling has so far been done on the economic trade-offs, and in fact, the literature lacks economic studies of the environment as a potential push factor for migration. The project proposes to undertake theoretical and empirical modelling of environment and migration in three interrelated parts. The first objective is to formulate a theoretical model of the policy-maker's choice when there are international externalities from pollution that may induce migration in a future time period. Although some attempts have been made to capture the simultaneous choice of environmental objectives when there are mobile populations, there has never been any model that has integrated the policy trade-offs between emission reductions and migration flows. The second objective is to study empirically actual migration flows, and the environmental stress that could have influenced them. Current evidence of environment-induced migration exists in Africa. We wish to focus on this region because of the uneven impact of climate change, which has been shown to particularly affect the less developed countries, and particularly those who are exposed to severe water stress and where the adaptive capacity may lead to environmentally induced migration. We propose to use an exceptional household panel dataset from Ethiopia on internal migrations to separate out the environmental motives for migration from other socioeconomic and political factors for migration. This micro data analysis will be complemented by regional level data on migration flows that we will confront with existing databases on climate factors from the IPCC. Barrios et al. (2006) analyzed the determinants of urbanization in Africa and in particular its relation with rainfall data, using econometric analysis on a national level, in one of the few existing studies to link economic development with environmental conditions. The proposed project will build on this study to develop a more far-reaching analysis between population flows in Africa and a larger set of environmental determinants. As such, this part of the project will constitute the first of its kind to determine the geographic and environmental determinants of the outcome of migration, namely changes in the population distribution within the African continent over the latter half of the 20th century. The third objective is to study one of the major consequences of regional or internal migration, i.e., the pollution from the informal urban sector. In fact, a large part of the migration flows in the developing world are internal and draw rural migrants to the city in search of livelihoods, and current forecasts indicate a strengthening of this trend in developing countries. This represents an entirely new subject, since apart from a few case studies on pollution emanating from the urban informal sector, little formal modelling has been done of the relevant linkages between pollution and a migrant's work choice in the formal urban sector and the informal urban sector. The aim of the project is to contribute to our understanding of the economic mechanisms that sustain the informal urban sector and how environmental policy should be designed to reduce the negative environmental externalities. We anticipate to be able to draw conclusions on alternative policy instruments to internalise the environmental externalities of the urban informal sector. We also hope to be able to develop a coherent theoretical model of the existence and size of the informal urban sector, considering the endogenous occupation choice of a migrant to the urban area.

Project coordinator

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

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Help of the ANR 0 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 0 Months

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