Impact of Climate Change on Migration in Pakistan

Sponsor: South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Heman Das Lohano

Research Assistant: Sidrat Asim

Agriculture is the most vulnerable sector to climate change as productivity in the sector is affected by a number of factors of climate change including rainfall pattern, temperature hike, changes in sowing and harvesting dates, water availability, and evapotranspiration. Cline (2007) has studied the impact of climate change on crop yields for many countries of the world, and has estimated that crop yields in Pakistan will decline by 30 percent by the year 2080 due to climate change. Climate change over a progressive period also shifts the distribution of economic opportunities within a country. Among the many strategies adopted to adapt to climate change has been migration from rural to urban or from one district/province/country to another. The causative factors of the household's decision to migrate include economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental factors. This study investigates the impact of climate change-driven crop yields on migration in Pakistan. The study focuses on migration due to climatic processes (land degradation, desertification) as opposed to climatic events (floods), because the former is expected to have an enduring effect on the population distribution. The specific objectives of the study are to estimate the impact of climate change-driven crop yields on migration in Pakistan, and to determine possible migration under different climate scenario. This study uses the panel data model which is estimated by the two-stage least squares method with instrumental variables. Panel data used in this study are district-level data from 1971 to 1998 obtained from Census Reports of Pakistan and other government publications.