Do social protection programs foster short-term and long-term migration adaptation strategies?

Valerie Mueller, Clark Gray, Sudhanshu Handa, David Seidenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We examine how migration is influenced by temperature and precipitation variability, and the extent to which the receipt of a cash transfer affects the use of migration as an adaptation strategy. Climate data is merged with georeferenced panel data (2010-2014) on individual migration collected from the Zambian Child Grant Program (CGP) sites. We use the person-year dataset to identify the direct and heterogeneous causal effects of the CGP on mobility. Having access to cash transfers doubles the rate of male, short-distance moves during cool periods, irrespective of wealth. Receipt of cash transfers (among wealthier households) during extreme heat causes an additional retention of males. Cash transfers positively spur long-distance migration under normal climate conditions in the long term. They also facilitate short-distance responses to climate, but not long-distance responses that might be demanded by future climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-158
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironment and Development Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Zambia
  • adaptation
  • climate variability
  • migration
  • social protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • General Environmental Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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