Agriculture, irrigation and drought induced international migration: Evidence from Mexico

Ram Fishman, Shan Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


There is now substantial empirical evidence that climatic variability increases international migration, but relatively little is known about the mechanism driving the association and about adaptations that may reduce it. We use detailed data on migrants from Mexico to the U.S. to provide evidence in support of the hypothesis that drought induced migration from Mexico to the U.S. is mediated by agricultural income shocks. Migration rates increase in drought years, but only in Mexico's drier regions, and the response is stronger in states and seasons in which agricultural production is also more sensitive to precipitation. Moreover, among the sample, only farmers display a significant increase in migration rates in drought years, and the effect is substantially weaker for households with access to irrigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102548
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
StatePublished - Jul 2022


FundersFunder number
George Washington University
Korea Institute for International Economic Policy


    • Agriculture
    • Climate
    • Irrigation
    • Migration


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