Environmental Change and Migration in the Amazon Rainforest: An Application of Gravity Models

Alexandre Gori Gori Maia , Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP)
Stella Zucchetti Schons Do Valle, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In this paper, we use nationally representative data on migration flows to analyze how environmental change affects out-migration in the Brazilian Amazon. We characterize environmental change in terms of increases in deforested area, historical trends of temperature and precipitation, and events of temperature and precipitation extremes. The empirical analysis is based on gravity models of migration, which consider simultaneously characteristics of origins and destinations as determinants of migration flows. We find evidence that out-migration is positively affected by deforestation and long-term changes in temperature, environmental variables that presented the most remarkable change in the region. Finally, we discuss how environmental change is important to understand population dynamics in the Amazon, although regional inequalities still play a central role.

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 Presented in Session 73. Demographic Dynamics, Environment and Development