Federico Boffa, Francisco Cavalcanti, Christian Fons-Rosen, Amedeo Piolatto, 14 June 2022

Economic studies of drought episodes typically use rainfall as a proxy for water scarcity, yet this is likely to lead to an endogeneity problem due to the correlation of variables that affect water scarcity (such as temperature and soil moisture) with relevant economic choices (such as which crops to grow or where to settle). This column presents an index that overcomes endogeneity by combining precipitation and potential water loss from the soil. The index can be used to improve our understanding of distributive politics and, in particular, of how political bias affects the assignment of drought-motivated aid relief.

Salvatore Di Falco, Anna B. Kis, Martina Viarengo, 30 April 2022

A high dependence on agriculture has left rural households in sub-Saharan Africa particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. This column combines a multi-country panel dataset with precipitation records to re-examine the growing season in five sub-Saharan African countries, and the impact of frequent and extreme drought on a household’s decision to migrate. While the effects of recent weather shocks were modest, the cumulative impact of persistent exposure to drought over several years led to a significant increase in the probability of migrating.

Karen Macours, Patrick Premand, Renos Vakis, 12 September 2012

Droughts in the US, India, and the Sahel are making headlines, with the farmers themselves often the first to lose out. This column presents findings from a randomised control trial exploring whether providing households with training and capital to diversify their incomes can cushion the shock of severe weather.

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