NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Michael Oppenheimer

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Working Papers

January 2012Climate Change, Crop Yields, and Internal Migration in the United States
with Shuaizhang Feng, Wolfram Schlenker: w17734
We investigate the link between agricultural productivity and net migration in the United States using a county-level panel for the most recent period of 1970-2009. In rural counties of the Corn Belt, we find a statistically significant relationship between changes in net outmigration and climate-driven changes in crop yields, with an estimated semi-elasticity of about -0.17, i.e., a 1% decrease in yields leads to a 0.17% net reduction of the population through migration. This effect is primarily driven by young adults. We do not detect a response for senior citizens, nor for the general population in eastern counties outside the Corn Belt. Applying this semi-elasticity to predicted yield changes under the B2 scenario of the Hadley III model, we project that, holding other factors constan...

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