Event Detail

Anticipatory Migration & Local Labor Responses to Rural Climate Shocks

Presented by:
Esteban J. Quiñones
Job Market Candidate
Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (Rm103)
3:45 pm-5:00 pm

Observed levels of adaptation to climate change among rural households remain low and poorly understood. This is troublesome because climate change is predicted to increase the incidence and severity of temperature and precipitation shocks affecting agricultural production. To address this knowledge gap, I integrate panel socioeconomic and demographic data from rural Mexico with longitudinal weather data to assess if individuals adapt to the heat-induced crop losses of neighboring households via anticipatory (ex ante) labor responses. I instrument for the proportion of catastrophic crop loss reports in a community with exogenous variation in extreme daily temperatures to obtain estimates of ex ante migration and local labor reallocation for households who have not experienced recent shocks but observe the heat-induced crop losses of others. I find evidence of anticipatory domestic migration, particularly among females and households with lower land-labor ratios. I also show evidence of local labor reallocation onto household land (agricultural self-employment), especially among males and households with higher land-labor ratios. This study highlights the salience of anticipatory adaptation, the substantial influence of the environment-agriculture mechanism, and the relevance of learning from others in the context of covariate climate risk. These findings have important implications for the design and targeting of rural climate change mitigation programs, suggesting that adaptation gaps are likely overstated and that households have substantially different capacities to mitigate the risks associated with climate shocks.