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Migration and development, economic growth, aid effectiveness, economic history
Michael Clemens is co-director of migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he studies the economic effects and causes of migration around the world. He has published on migration, development, economic history, and impact evaluation, in peer-reviewed academic journals including the American Economic Review, and his research has been awarded the Royal Economic Society Prize. He also serves as a Research Fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn, Germany, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Population Economics and World Development. He is the author of the book The Walls of Nations, forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Previously, Clemens has been an Affiliated Associate Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, a visiting scholar at New York University, and a consultant for the World Bank, Bain & Co., the Environmental Defense Fund, and the United Nations Development Program. He has lived and worked in Colombia, Brazil, and Turkey. He received his PhD from the Department of Economics at Harvard University, specializing in economic development, public finance, and economic history.
We use a panel of country-level crop yields in Africa to estimate the relationship between yields and temperature as well as precipitation. Maize, sorghum, millet, and groundnuts are predicted to show significant yield reductions in the medium term even under moderate warming. Our estimation uses the distribution of temperatures within each day at the location a particular crop is grown. Given potential data quality issues for Africa, the predicted temperature response function is contrasted to the one in the United States, where we find robust nonlinear temperature effects, i.e., yields are first increasing in temperature, but decrease sharply once they pass an upper threshold (29C for maize). The slope of the decline above the threshold is much steeper than the incline below it. The increased frequency of temperatures above the upper threshold is responsible for the significant reduction in yields.
When countries select immigrants based on skill, what happens in the migrants' countries of origin? Departing skilled workers obviously tend to reduce stocks of skill there, but the prospect of skilled migration can induce more investment in skill. It is not clear which effect dominates. This paper studies one of the fastest and relatively largest exoduses of skilled workers on record, in the Pacific country of Fiji, which paradoxically produced a net increase in the stock of skill within Fiji. It offers evidence that skilled migration prospects caused that net increase, and evidence to rule out several competing explanations.