Climate Change Is Shifting Voter Behaviour in Low-Income Countries

“Climate Change and Political Participation: Evidence from India”, a research collaboration between Professor Irma Clots-Figueras, Dr Amrit Amirapu and Juan Pablo Rud (Royal Holloway) is a recipient of the 2023 IZA Award for Innovative Research in the Economics of Climate Change. 

This new annual award, worth 10,000 euros, is given for the two best topical IZA Discussion Papers of the previous year, to foster excellent, objective, scientific research on the economics of climate change.

‘Climate Change and Political Participation: Evidence from India” by Amrit AmirapuIrma Clots-Figueras and Juan Pablo Rud provides new evidence about the ways in which political agents in developing countries (including both voters and candidates) may respond to climate change via political channels. The authors study the effects of extreme temperature shocks on political participation using data from Indian elections between 2009 and 2017. Taking advantage of localized, high-frequency data on land surface temperatures, they find that areas with greater cumulative exposure to extreme temperatures experience an increase in voter turnout and a change in the composition of the pool of candidates who stand for election. As a consequence, electoral outcomes are affected.’

‘It is a nice surprise,’ Clots Figueras told us ‘and I am very happy that we have received this recognition.’

The research also features in Promarket;

‘Farmers in low-income countries have multiple channels through which they respond to climate change. Some switch to growing more heat-resilient crops or crops that require less water. Others migrate or leave agriculture altogether. In new research, Amrit Amirapu, Irma Clots-Figueras, and Juan Pablo Rud find that temperature shocks to agricultural production in India increase voter turnout in rural areas and push rural voters to elect candidates who are on average poorer, less tainted by corruption, and have a background in agriculture.’

View the piece in Promarket here and the full paper here