U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Model of Climate Influence on Migration

In the economics literature, climate has been found to be a significant determinant of residential location choices in the U.S. (Albouy et al. 2013). However, this effect has not been incorporated in spatial population models and integrated with climate projections. IM3 will estimate a model for climate effects on migration drawing on historical data, combining socio-economic variables from IPUMS with a historical weather dataset developed by Schlenker and Roberts (2009) linked at the public-use microdata area (PUMA) level for comprehensive coverage across the US. We plan to build on the approach of Albouy et al. (2013), which used linear regression techniques to infer the importance of a favorable climate to households from differences in market wages and housing prices across climate-differentiated regions after controlling for other factors that influence location decisions. IM3 will address a key gap in the literature by incorporating migration costs as an important barrier to relocation. Past studies evaluating household responses to other local environmental characteristics (such as local air quality) find that the predicted behavioral responses are strongly sensitive to the inclusion of migration costs. Bayer et al. (2009) provides one example of such a study and will serve as the foundation for our model of migration costs. We will explore the influence of a number of different climate variables on migration, with a focus on temperature. The underlying dataset (Schlenker and Roberts 2009) estimates sub-daily temperature for the period 1950-2005 at a resolution of 2.5 km. This will allow us to test whether minimum, maximum, or mean temperature at the daily, monthly, or seasonal scale are significant determinants of migration, as well as derived metrics of extreme heat over multiple days.

Point of Contact: Jarod Carbone

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Albouy DY, W Graf, R Kellogg, and H Wolff. 2013. "Climate Amenities, Climate Changes and American Quality of Life." NBER Working Paper 18925. Cambridge, MA.

Bayer P, N Keohane, and C Timmins. 2009. "Migration and Hedonic Valuation: The Case of Air Quality." Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 58(1). 1-14. DOI:10.1016/j.jeem.2008.08.004.

Schlenker W, and MJ Roberts. 2009. "Nonlinear Temperature Effects Indicate Severe Damages to U.S. Crop Yields Under Climate Change." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 106(37). 15594-15598. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0906865106.

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