FEEM on Nature Climate Change: “Outward Migration May Alter Population Dynamics and Income Inequality”
A new paper of Soheil Shayegh, senior researcher of FEEM’s Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways research program and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow under the ROBUST POLICY project (Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 703399), on “Outward migration may alter population dynamics and income inequality” has been published on the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.
This paper shows how climate change impacts may drive affected populations to migrate. However, migration decisions in response to climate change could have broader effects on population dynamics in affected regions. Shoeil models the effect of climate change on fertility rates, income inequality, and human capital accumulation in developing countries, focusing on the instrumental role of migration as a key adaptation mechanism. In particular, he investigates how climate-induced migration in developing countries will affect those who do not migrate. He finds that, holding all else constant, climate change raises the return on acquiring skills, because skilled individuals have greater migration opportunities than unskilled individuals. In response to this change in incentives, parents may choose to invest more in education and have fewer children. This may ultimately reduce local income inequality, partially offsetting some of the damages of climate change for low-income individuals who do not migrate.