Climate change and migration: Reviewing the role of access to agricultural adaptation measures

Manisha Mukherjee


This study examines the moderating role of access to agricultural adaptation measures in how climate change is affecting human migration in the middle- and low-income countries. The literature on the association between climate change, agricultural production, and migration has seen a dramatic expansion in the past decade and highlighted the complexity of the process. Yet, a crucial link that is missing in the discussions is the interlinkage between migration responses and access to in-situ agricultural adaptation measures. To address this gap, I build this study on an emerging approach that treats adaptation to climate change as an additional component of sustainable economic development. I systematically review 81 quantitative and qualitative studies on the nexus of climate change, migration, and agriculture in the middle- and low-income countries and investigate the migration responses of agricultural households in conjunction with access to agricultural adaptation measures. I find a significant overlap between the social class of farmers, their capabilities to adapt in situ, and their migration decisions. The migration responses vary across agricultural households based on access to in-situ adaptation measures. Additionally, this interaction is heavily moderated by other local contextual factors- such as easy access to credit, participation in social networks, ethnic and social fractionalization, presence of conflicts, and social structures. Based on the findings, I propose a conceptual framework that could aid in deconstructing the migration responses of agricultural households in less-developed countries. Furthermore, I highlight critical policy gaps in building climate-resilient rural economies and suggest future research agendas with regard to climate change, migration, and agricultural adaptation measures.

JEL Classification: O13, O15, Q01, Q15, R2

Keywords: Climate change, Human mobility, Agriculture, Adaptation, Economic development, Systematic review

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