Should they stay or should they go? Climate Migrants and Local Conflicts

Bosetti, Valentina, Cristina Cattaneo, and Giovanni Peri. “Should they stay or should they go? Climate migrants and local conflicts.” Journal of Economic Geography (2018).

There is extensive evidence that higher temperatures increase the probability of local conflict. There is also evidence that emigration represents an important margin of adaptation to a warming climate. In this article, we analyse whether migration influences the link between warming and conflicts by either attenuating this connection in countries of origin and/or by exacerbating it in countries of destination. We find that in countries where the propensity to emigrate—as measured by past diaspora—is higher, increases in temperature have smaller effects on the probability of armed conflict, compared to countries with lower migration propensity. This is consistent with emigration functioning as ‘escape valve’ for local tensions. We find no evidence that climate-induced migration increased the probability of conflict in receiving countries.

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