Alexandre Gori Maia & Stella Zucchetti Schons | Population and Environment

We study how environmental change affects out-migration in the Brazilian Amazon using census data on municipal-level migration flows between 2005 and 2010. We characterize environmental change in terms of increases in municipal deforested area and gradual changes in temperature and precipitation as well as extreme weather events. Our empirical analysis is based on gravity models of migration, which consider simultaneously characteristics of origins and destinations as determinants of migration flows, treating for potential sources of endogeneity. We find evidence that out-migration from the Amazon region of Brazil is mainly associated with prior levels of deforestation, which is partially explained by the life cycle channel: a younger generation leaving the old frontier of colonization to an aging population. Furthermore, the links between environmental change and migration are more evident in the context of rural-urban and intra-regional migration, contributing to the process of urbanization in the Amazon.

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