cesifoIngrid Dallmann was invited to participate in the “CESifo Venice Summer Institute 2016: Climate Change and Migration” that took place in Venice, Italy on 22 to 23 July 2016. She presented her article “Climate Variability and Internal Migration: A Test on Indian Inter-State Migration” co-written with Katrin Millock.
We match migration data from the 1991 and 2001 Indian Census with climate data to test the hypothesis of climate variability as a push factor for internal migration. The article contributes to the literature by combining three important factors. First, we introduce relevant meteorological indicators of climate variability, based on the standardized precipitation index. Second, the use of the census data enables us to match the migration data with the relevant climate data ex-ante, rather than relying on average conditions. Third, we analyse bilateral migration rates in order to fully account for characteristics in both the origin and the destination. We therefore use an econometric estimation method that accounts for zero observations, which are frequent in bilateral data. The estimation results show that drought frequency in the origin state acts as push factor on inter-state migration in India. We do not find a statistically significant effect of the magnitude and the duration of drought episodes preceding migration. There is no evidence of excess precipitation acting as a push factor on inter-state migration. The results are robust to alternative specifications of fixed effects and to the inclusion of irrigation rates.