29 September 2016 - 30 September 2016
Bonn, Germany

The link between climate, conflict and cross-border migration

World Population Program scientist Raya Muttarak will present latest IIASA research at this interdisciplinary conference organized at the University of Bonn.

Global crisis crack © Somyot Sutprattanatawin | Dreamstime

Global crisis crack © Somyot Sutprattanatawin | Dreamstime

In the framework of the TransRe (Building resilience through translocality. Climate change, migration and social resilience of rural communities in Thailand) Project at the University of Bonn, this conference provides a platform for scientific exchange regarding the link and correlations between environmental and climate change, migration, and resilience. Invited are researchers from different disciplines and fields of research including risk and vulnerability studies, migration studies, climate change adaptation, and demography. Under the theme "Connecting the Dots: Migration – Environment – Resilience", the event will take place between 29-30 September in Bonn, Germany.

Raya Muttarak, research scholar at the World Population Program at IIASA, will give a presentation during Session 4 on the link between climate, conflict and cross-border migration based on the use of gravity-type model and country-year fixed effects, research conducted in collaboration with Guy Abel, Michael Brottrager, and Jesus Crespo Cuaresma. In her research at IIASA, Muttarak focuses on the intersection of social inequality, differential vulnerability and environmental change. Her research has recently been published in Science, and she is also guest editor of the latest special issue of the Vienna Yearbook of Population Research entitled "Demographic differential vulnerability to climate-related disasters". The special issue is one outcome of IIASA's "Forecasting Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change" project, that examines societies' capacity to develop the most effective long-term defense against the dangers of climate change by strengthening human capacity - primarily through education.

For more information please visit the event website.

Presentation Abstract

Examining the link between climate, conflict and cross-border migration using gravity model

This paper aims to systematically examine the connection between climate change and conflict and explore how the two factors interplay in influencing cross-border migration. Using gravity-type model and country-year fixed effects, we attempt to draw a causal link between climate, conflict and migration. Cross-border migration is estimated based on the UNHCR global bilateral international refugee flows collected annually from 1989-2014 (n=65,000 country-year bilateral flows). Climatic conditions are measured as rainfall variability, temperature anomalies and natural disaster events at a country-level. We control for demographic, social, economic and political characteristics of countries of origin and destination that drive conflict as well as “push” and “pull” factors in determining migration. Controlling for economic conditions and political factors of the countries of origin, we find that the increase in extreme temperature is one key driver of conflict outbreaks. Consequently, refugee flows from countries experiencing high conflict intensity are greater than those with low conflict.

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Last edited: 22 September 2016


Raya Muttarak

Program Director and Principal Research Scholar Population and Just Societies Program

Acting Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar Migration and Sustainable Development Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

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