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Journal Article

The effects of environmental and non-environmental shocks on livelihoods and migration in Tanzania


Blocher,  Julia
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Hoffmann,  Roman
External Organizations;


Weisz,  Helga
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Blocher, J., Hoffmann, R., Weisz, H. (2024): The effects of environmental and non-environmental shocks on livelihoods and migration in Tanzania. - Population and Environment, 46, 7.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_29710
Disruptive events and calamities can have major consequences for households in the predominantly agrarian communities of Eastern Africa. Here, we analyze the impacts of environmental and non-environmental shocks on migration in Tanzania using panel models and longitudinal data from the Tanzania National Panel Survey between 2008 and 2013. Shocks are defined as events that lead to losses in income, assets, or both. We find shocks resulting from changes in environmental conditions to be positively related to migration over time with more recent shocks exerting the strongest impact. According to our estimates, the probability of having a household member absent increases by 0.81% with each additional environmental shock encountered in the past 12 months. Different types of shocks have differential effects on migration with the strongest effects being observed for shocks with an immediate impact on household livelihoods, including through livestock losses and crop damage. Households in the sample are differently affected with rural, agriculturally dependent, and poor households without alternative income sources showing the strongest changes in their migration behavior in response to shocks. Our study adds important insights into the relationship between disruptive events and migration in Eastern Africa considering a broad time window and the compounding influence of different shock types. Our findings have a range of policy implications highlighting the need for a comprehensive perspective on household responses in times of distress that considers the interplay of different shock types as well as the role of context in shaping mobility patterns.