DP15491 Local Sectoral Specialization in a Warming World

Author(s): Bruno Conte, Klaus Desmet, Dávid Krisztián Nagy, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
Publication Date: November 2020
Keyword(s): Geography, Global Warming, growth, migration, sectoral specialization, Space, Trade
JEL(s): F18, O13, O41, Q56, R11, R12
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics, Development Economics, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15491

This paper quantitatively assesses the world's changing economic geography and sectoral specialization due to global warming. It proposes a two-sector dynamic spatial growth model that incorporates the relation between economic activity, carbon emissions, and temperature. The model is taken to the data at the 1º by 1º resolution for the entire world. Over a 200-year horizon, rising temperatures consistent with emissions under Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 push people and economic activity northwards to Siberia, Canada, and Scandinavia. Compared to a world without climate change, clusters of agricultural specialization shift from Central Africa, Brazil, and India's Ganges Valley, to Central Asia, parts of China and northern Canada. Equatorial latitudes that lose agriculture specialize more in non-agriculture but, due to their persistently low productivity, lose population. By the year 2200, predicted losses in real GDP and utility are 6% and 15%, respectively. Higher trade costs make adaptation through changes in sectoral specialization more costly, leading to less geographic concentration in agriculture and larger climate-induced migration.