The Center for Global Sustainability is pleased to welcome Claire Brunel to the CGS Forums of the Fall 2018 semester.
Claire Brunel’s research focuses on issues at the intersection of environmental economics and international economics. In particular, she studies the links between environmental policies and international competitiveness in terms of technological innovation, manufacturing production, and international trade. She is also interested in providing evidence of the effects of climate change on migration. Prior to coming to SIS, Professor Brunel worked for the Research Department of the World Bank, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and at the Embassy of France as Trade Policy.
Claire Brunel will be presenting on “Climate change and internal migration in Brazil: The role of road infrastructure” (co-authored with Maggie Y. Liu).
Global warming affects productivity in climate-sensitive sectors thereby creating income shocks, especially for rural households in poor countries. Internal migration represents an important channel through which households can cope with these shocks. In this paper, the authors exploit exogenous variation in temperatures and precipitation rates across 25 Brazilian states and examine the response in state-to-state migration flows between 1981 and 2010. The empirical analysis incorporates a novel road dataset they constructed by digitizing historical maps of the road networks, combined with geospatial data on climate factors and bilateral migration data from decennial censuses. The authors found strong evidence that a reduction in travel time is associated with higher levels of cross-state migration absent changes in temperature and precipitation, and that holding travel cost constant states with warming temperatures exhibit higher levels of emigration. Agricultural migrants are particularly affected by rising temperatures, leading in some instances to sectoral switches into less climate-sensitive sectors. Moreover, the findings reveal some important heterogeneity at the regional level based notably on the composition of the crops being planted in different states.