Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Christine Moser
Dr. Susan Pozo
Dr. Denise Keele
Climate change, migration, perception, adaptation, agriculture, climate change-related extreme events
There are increasing and urgent calls for global economies to join in the fight against the impacts of climate change (World Bank, 2020). With reports such as the World Bank (2020) of climate change costing billions of dollars in losses for economies, the purpose of my dissertation is to examine the effects of climate change-related extreme events and their potential economic effects in three areas: agriculture, migration, and the labor market.
My first essay focuses on the factors that influence farmers’ perception of risk and adaptive strategies against the effects of climate change-related extreme events. I examine whether farmers’ social networks play a role in their climate actions. I do this by collecting primary data in Jamaica; a developing country which has a heavy reliance on agricultural production. This study contributes to the climate change literature by investigating the perceptions and adaptation strategies of farmers in Jamaica. The results indicate three main things: (1) The presence of social networks, i.e., having nearby farmers who perceive climate change effects on livestock production or take adaptive actions, leads to greater likelihood of a farmer perceiving effects of climate change and utilizing adaptive strategies; (2) Farm size has a positive and significant effect on adaptation; and (3) farmers closer to the capital of the country are more likely to take adaptive measures relative to farmers in other parts of the country. The policy implication of this essay suggests that social networks can be leveraged to encourage the spread of climate adaptation actions.
My second essay focuses on the impact of climate change-related extreme events on migration to the US. The economic consequences of climate change-related extreme events such as storms, floods, droughts, and extreme temperature are predicted to costs billions of dollars. This study contributes to the climate change literature by estimating the effect of climate change-related extreme events on migration to the US. I do this using legal migration data from the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs and use extreme events information from the International Disaster database (EM-DAT). I find evidence that the monetary damage of storms, floods, and droughts reduce migration inflows to the US. Furthermore, I find the number of lives affected by storms reduces migration to the US. Only for the number of lives affected by extreme temperature is the effect on migration to the US positive. Both effects for the non-pecuniary damages are however economically insignificant. The findings in this essay also indicate that generally the cumulative monetary damage and cumulative number of lives affected across all events do not have a statistically significant effect on legal migration but rather it is the type or category of extreme events which affect the flow of migration to the US.
In my third essay I focus on the labor market outcomes of recent Puerto Rican migrants who moved to New York and Florida after Hurricane Maria. Using data from the American Community Survey, I test if after Hurricane Maria recent Puerto Rican migrants faced worse labor market outcomes relative to earlier arrivals. I answer this using the synthetic control method, which provides a counterfactual to answer whether the post-Hurricane Maria internal migration affected the unemployment and labor force participation rates. The results indicate that despite a large and sudden increase of recent Puerto Rican migrants, there was no significant impact on labor market outcomes.
Harris, Alvin E., "Essays on Climate Change-Related Extreme Events" (2020). Dissertations. 3647.