Climate shocks and exports

We find that a poor country being 1 degree Celsius warmer in a given year reduces the growth rate of that country’s exports by between 2.0 and 5.7 percentage points, with no detectable effects in rich countries. We find negative effects of temperature on exports of both agricultural products and light manufacturing products, with little apparent effects on heavy industry or raw materials. The results confirm large negative effects of temperature on poor countries’ economies and suggest that temperature affects a much wider range of economic activity than conventionally thought.

Ben Jones and Ben Olken in a new working paper.

Note they are dealing with climate shocks, not sustained climate change.

One thought on “Climate shocks and exports

  1. Without having read the paper, I wonder if the proximate cause of the contractions is not temperature but water shortages (which would presumably be correlated with temperature?). See eg this thorough timeline from the Pacific Institute, which deals with water shortages and conflict: http://www.worldwater.org/conflict/timeline/

    If the cause were indeed water shortages (or, at least, if water shortages were a critical link in the chain of causation) I would be even more terrified: It’s entirely possible that we could see political action on climate change, but still face massive water shortages.