Migration and self-protection against climate change: a case study of Samburu district, Kenya

Ng’ang’a, Stanley Karanja Bulte, Erwin Giller, Ken E. McIntire, John M. Rufino, Mariana C.
University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics
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Climate change will affect the livelihoods of pastoralists in arid and semi-arid lands. We use new data from Samburu District, northern Kenya, to explore whether migration of household members affects adoption of adaptive measures. Specifically, we seek to test whether migra-tion and adaptation are complementary mechanisms to protect the household against adverse shocks, or whether they are substitutes. Do remittances relax capital market constraints and facilitate the uptake of adaptive measures, or do they render adaptation superfluous? Our data suggests migration –via remittances – facilitates the adoption of self-protective measures in the areas of origin of the migrants. Supporting our interpretation that credit constraints constitute the main mechanism linking migration to adoption, we document that the effects of migration on self-protection are only significant in locations where villagers lack access to credit.