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Climate change, crop yields, and internal migration in the United States

Author: Shuaizhang Feng; Michael Oppenheimer; Wolfram Schlenker; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2012.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 17734.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We investigate the link between agricultural productivity and net migration in the United States using a county-level panel for the most recent period of 1970-2009. In rural counties of the Corn Belt, we find a statistically significant relationship between changes in net outmigration and climate-driven changes in crop yields, with an estimated semi-elasticity of about -0.17, i.e., a 1% decrease in yields leads to a  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Feng, Shuaizhang.
Climate change, crop yields, and internal migration in the United States.
Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2012
(DLC) 2011657593
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Shuaizhang Feng; Michael Oppenheimer; Wolfram Schlenker; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 771922764
Notes: Title from http://www.nber.org/papers/17734 viewed Jan. 9, 2012.
"January 2012."
Description: 1 online resource (31, A10 pages) : maps.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 17734.
Responsibility: Shuaizhang Feng, Michael Oppenheimer, Wolfram Schlenker.

Abstract:

We investigate the link between agricultural productivity and net migration in the United States using a county-level panel for the most recent period of 1970-2009. In rural counties of the Corn Belt, we find a statistically significant relationship between changes in net outmigration and climate-driven changes in crop yields, with an estimated semi-elasticity of about -0.17, i.e., a 1% decrease in yields leads to a 0.17% net reduction of the population through migration. This effect is primarily driven by young adults. We do not detect a response for senior citizens, nor for the general population in eastern counties outside the Corn Belt. Applying this semi-elasticity to predicted yield changes under the B2 scenario of the Hadley III model, we project that, holding other factors constant, climate change would on average induce 3.7% of the adult population (ages 15-59) to leave rural counties of the Corn Belt in the medium term (2020-2049) compared to the 1960-1989 baseline, with the possibility of a much larger migration response in the long term (2077-2099). Since there is uncertainty about future warming, we also present projections for a range of uniform climate change scenarios in temperature or precipitation.

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