The Perils of Modelling How Migration Responds to Climate Change

  • Bo FengEmail author
  • Mark Partridge
  • Mark Rembert
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


The impact of climate change has drawn growing interests from both researchers and policymakers. Yet, relatively little is known with respect to its influence on interregional migration. The surge of extreme weather conditions could lead to the increase of forced migration from coastal to inland regions, which normally follows different patterns than voluntary migration. However, recent migration models tend to predict unrealistic migration trends under climate change in that migration would flow towards the areas most adversely affected. Given the great uncertainty about the magnitude and distribution of severe weather events, it is almost impossible to foresee migration directions by simply extrapolating from the data on how people have responded in the past to climate and weather. For example, weather events will likely be far outside of what has been observed. Other issues include a poor climate measures and a poor understanding of how climate affects migration in an entirely different structural environment. Unintended consequence of public policies also contributes to the complication of predicting future migration pattern. In this paper, we survey the limitations of existing climate change literature, explore insights of regional economic studies, and provide potential solutions to those issues.


  1. Albouy D et al (2016) Climate amenities, climate change, and American quality of life. J Assoc Environ Resour Econ 3(1):205–246Google Scholar
  2. Beeson PE, Eberts RW (1989) Identifying productivity and amenity effects in interurban wage differentials. Rev Econ Stat 71:443–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brakman S, Garretsen H, Schramm M (2004) The strategic bombing of German cities during World War II and its impact on city growth. J Econ Geogr 4(2):201–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burke MB et al (2009) Warming increases the risk of civil war in Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106(49):20670–20674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Colacito R, Hoffmann B, Phan T (2016) Temperature and growth: a panel analysis of the United States. Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davis DR, Weinstein DE (2002) Bones, bombs, and break points: the geography of economic activity. Am Econ Rev 92(5):1269–1289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dell M, Jones BF, Olken BA (2009) Temperature and income: reconciling new cross-sectional and panel estimates. No. w14680. National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
  8. Dell M, Jones BF, Olken BA (2012) Temperature shocks and economic growth: evidence from the last half century. Am Econ J Macroecon 4:66–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deryugina T, Hsiang SM (2014) Does the environment still matter? Daily temperature and income in the United States. No. w20750. National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
  10. Deschênes O, Greenstone M (2011) Climate change, mortality, and adaptation: evidence from annual fluctuations in weather in the US. Am Econ J Appl Econ 3(4):152–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fan Q, Allen Klaiber H, Fisher-Vanden K (2016) Does extreme weather drive interregional brain drain in the US? Evidence from a sorting model. Land Econ 92(2):363–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fussell E, Curtis KJ, DeWaard J (2014) Recovery migration to the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: a migration systems approach. Popul Environ 35(3):305–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glaeser EL, Tobio K (2007) The rise of the sunbelt. No. w13071. National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
  14. Glaeser EL, Gottlieb JD (2009) The wealth of cities: agglomeration economies and spatial equilibrium in the United States. J Econ Lit 47(4):983–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Glaeser EL, Gyourko J (2005) Urban decline and durable housing. J Political Econ 113(2):345–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Glaeser EL, Gyourko J, Saks R (2005) Why is Manhattan so expensive? Regulation and the rise in housing prices. J Law Econ 48(2):331–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Graves PE (1976) A reexamination of migration, economic opportunity and the quality of life. J Reg Sci 16(1):107–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Graves PE (1979) A life-cycle empirical analysis of migration and climate by race. J Urban Econ 6(2):135–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heal G, Park J (2015) Goldilocks economies? Temperature stress and the direct impacts of climate change. No. w21119. National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
  20. Hsiang SM (2010) Temperatures and cyclones strongly associated with economic production in the Caribbean and Central America. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107(35):15367–15372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kahn ME (2014) Climate change adaptation: lessons from urban economics. No. w20716. National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
  22. Kahn ME (2009) Urban growth and climate change. Annu Rev Resour Econ 1(1):333–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kahn ME (2005) The death toll from natural disasters: the role of income, geography, and institutions. Rev Econ Stat 87(2):271–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martin R, Sunley P (2014) On the notion of regional economic resilience: conceptualization and explanation. J Econ Geogr 15:1–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Melillo JM, Richmond TC, Yohe GW (eds) (2014) Climate change impacts in the United States: the third national climate assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, 841 pp.
  26. Partridge MD (2010) The duelling models: NEG vs amenity migration in explaining US engines of growth. Pap Reg Sci 89(3):513–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Partridge MD, Olfert MR (2011) The winners’ choice: sustainable economic strategies for successful 21st-century regions. Appl Econ Perspect Policy 33(2):143–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Partridge MD, Rickman DS (2002) Did the new economy vanquish the regional business cycle? Contemp Econ Policy 20:456–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Partridge MD, Rickman DS (2003) The waxing and waning of U.S. regional economies: the chicken-egg of jobs versus people. J Urban Econ 53:76–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Partridge MD, Rickman DS (April 2006) Fluctuations in aggregate U.S. migration flows and regional labor market flexibility. South Econ J 72:958–980CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Partridge MD, Rickman DS, Olfert R, Ali K (2008) Lost in space: population growth in the American hinterlands and small cities. J Econ Geogr 8:lbn038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Partridge MD et al (2012) Dwindling US internal migration: evidence of spatial equilibrium or structural shifts in local labor markets? Reg Sci Urban Econ 42(1):375–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Poppert PE, Herzog HW Jr (2003) Force reduction, base closure, and the indirect effects of military installations on local employment growth. J Reg Sci 43(3):459–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rappaport J (2007) Moving to nice weather. Reg Sci Urban Econ 37(3):375–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Reuveny R (2007) Climate change-induced migration and violent conflict. Polit Geogr 26(6):656–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roback J (1982) Wages, rents, and the quality of life. J Political Econ 90:1257–1278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roback J (1988) Wages, rents, and amenities: differences among workers and regions. Econ Inq 26(1):23–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rosen S (1974) Hedonic prices and implicit markets: product differentiation in pure competition. J Political Econ 82(1):34–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sledge D, Mohler G (2013) Eliminating malaria in the American South: an analysis of the decline of malaria in 1930s Alabama. Am J Public Health 103(8):1381–1392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Xiao Y (2011) Local impacts of natural disasters. J Reg Sci 51:804–820CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AED EconomicsThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.School of EconomicsJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Urban StudiesGran Sasso Science InstituteL’AquilaItaly

Personalised recommendations