This research used a unique panel data set to explore the impact of fluctuations in weather conditions on rural-urban migration in China. The main findings of the study are as follows: (1) Both reduced-form and structural models indicate that weather shocks appear to have a significant impact on rural-urban migration in China. (2) Weather shocks may have indirectly affected past rural-urban migration in China, most probably through their effect on crop yields. However, to identify the relationship between weather shocks and migration in future research, more attention must be given to finding appropriate estimation methods and proper measures for agricultural production and household migration decisions. (3) When studying the effect of weather shocks on crop yields, it may be critical to pay closer attention to extreme weather conditions, particularly extreme temperatures, instead of mean temperature/precipitation in growing seasons. (4) Unobserved factors associated with time play a significant role in households’ migration decisions. Policy makers in China should consider the effects of other driving forces, along with the effects of weather shocks, when designing policies to better address issues related to rural-urban migration.
Estimating the Impact of Weather Shocks on Agricultural Production and Migration in China