Sedova, B., Kalkuhl, M. and Mendelsohn, R.

Distributional Impacts of Weather and Climate in Rural India

in Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, 05.12.2019

Peer Review , Economic Growth and Human Development

Climate-related costs and benefits may not be evenly distributed across the population. We study distributional implications of seasonal weather and climate on within-country inequality in rural India. Utilizing a first difference approach, we find that the poor are more sensitive to weather variations than the non-poor. The poor respond more strongly to (seasonal) temperature changes: negatively in the (warm) spring season, more positively in the (cold) rabi season. Less precipitation is harmful to the poor in the monsoon kharif season and beneficial in the winter and spring seasons. We show that adverse weather aggravates inequality by reducing consumption of the poor farming households. Future global warming predicted under RCP8.5 is likely to exacerbate these effects, reducing consumption of poor farming households by one third until the year 2100. We also find inequality in consumption across seasons with higher consumption during the harvest and lower consumption during the sowing seasons.