Weathering the Storm: Weather Shocks and International Migrants from the Philippines

Working Papers

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Asia Health Policy Program working paper # 51

January 17, 2019

ahppwp cvr51 020420

The growing literature on environmental migration presents conflicting results. While some find that natural disasters induce international migration, others discover a dampening effect. We aim to reconcile these differences by using a comprehensive list of weather shocks from the Philippines, a country prone to natural disasters and a major exporter of labor. We constructed a longitudinal provincial dataset (2005–2015) from an assemblage of administrative and survey datasets and tested linear, quadratic, and lagged models.

Our fixed-effects results are consistent with both strands in the literature with caveats. First, Filipinos are more likely to work abroad when they experience less-intense tropical cyclones and storm warning signal but are more likely to stay with a more damaging storm warning signal. Second, differential effects of weather shocks on international migration contingent on agriculture exists. Third, non-environmental factors such as economic (unemployment rate) and infrastructure (number of high schools) also push Filipinos abroad.

Keywords: Migration, Natural Disaster, Panel Dataset, Agriculture, OFWs

JEL classification: C33, C36, F22

Forthcoming, Journal of Population Economics.

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