Climate Variability, Land Ownership and Migration

Evidence from Thailand about Gender Impacts

Article appearing in Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Volume 4, Issue 1

  • Co-Author:
  • Sara Curran with Jacqueline Meijer-Irons
  • Date: July 2014, 2014

Scholars point to climate change, often in the form of more frequent and severe drought, as a potential driver of migration in the developing world, particularly for places where populations rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. To date, however, there have been few large-scale, longitudinal studies that explore the relationship between climate change and migration.

This study significantly extends current scholarship by evaluating distinctive effects of climatic variation and models these effects on men’s and women’s responsiveness to drought and rainfall. Our study also investigates how land ownership moderates these effects. We find small, but significant, increases in migration above existing migratory levels during periods of prolonged climatic stress, and that these patterns differ both by gender and land tenure.