Essays on the Impact of Shocks on Trade, Migration, and Agriculture in Mozambique

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Christine Moser, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susan Pozo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Cynthia Donovan, Ph.D.


Agriculture, climate change, finance, migration, shock, trade


The COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events have dramatically and drastically altered patterns of our lives and where people live. According to the World Bank (2020), the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have an especially heavy impact on developing economies that have large informal sectors. Furthermore, by 2099 the world is expected to be on average between 1.8 ºC and 4 ºC hotter than it is now and changes in rainfall patterns mean that extreme weather events such as drought, storms, and floods are expected to become increasingly frequent and severe (Anderson & Silva, 2020). The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of these types of shocks in Mozambique.

My first essay assesses how traders engaged in the informal sector were affected by containment measures (such as the close of the international border, social distance, and people confined to their homes) and how they are responding financially. I do this by collecting primary data using phone-based interviews in Mozambique, where, according to the World Bank (2019) approximately 95% of workers find their livelihood in the informal sector. This study contributes to the growing literature on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the existing literature on financial inclusion. The results find: (1) Both cross-border traders and local traders were affected by COVID-19-related measures. However, cross border traders appear to have been more resilient than local traders. (2) When traders faced shocks caused by containment measures, informal institutions, family, and friends were the primary source of finance. The policy implication of this study suggests a need to improve access to financial systems so that the informal sector becomes less vulnerable to future economic shocks.

My second essay focuses on the impact of an extreme weather event on internal migration in Mozambique. This study makes an important contribution to the existing literature by providing evidence on how individuals in a developing country cope with shocks caused by extreme weather events. I use census data for Mozambique for the years 1997 and 2007. I combined this census data with climate data from the Center for Climate Research University of Delaware (Willmott & Matsuura, 2022). I find that individuals are more likely to migrate to another district when facing drought and less likely to leave following flooding events. I also found that migrants are more likely to be educated individuals and people in rural areas are less likely to migrate compared to individuals in urban areas.

My third essay focuses on the effect of drought on agricultural productivity. I use a national agricultural survey from Mozambique and climate data from the Center for Climate Research University of Delaware (Willmott & Matsuura, 2022). This study contributes to the existing literature on the effect of drought on agriculture productivity by providing evidence on mechanisms through which drought can generate migration away from affected areas. I found that the incidence of drought had a negative effect on Maize cultivated area and production in Mozambique.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until


This document is currently not available here.