Migration as an Adaptation Strategy to Weather Variability: An Instrumental Variables Probit Analysis

EfD Discussion Paper

There is solid scienti c evidence predicting that a large part of the developing world will
su er a greater incidence of extreme weather events, which may increase the incidence of displacement
migration. We draw on the new economics of migration to model migration decisions
of smallholder and rain-dependent farm households in rural Ethiopia and investigate both the
ex-ante and ex-post impacts of climate variables. Using detailed household survey panel data
matched with rainfall data, we show that weather variability - measured by the coecient of
variation of rainfall - has a strong positive impact on the probability of sending a migrant. This
implies that households engage in migration to cope with risk ex-ante. We also nd evidence
suggesting that rainfall shocks have ex-post impact on households' likelihood of migration, but
the e ect is not statistically signi cant at the conventional levels. Instrumental variables probit
regression results also show that controlling for endogeneity of income using a credible instrument
is important to identify its impact on the decision to send a migrant. Our ndings have
important implications for policies aiming to improve the capacity of vulnerable households to
adapt to climate change.

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Publication | 19 January 2017