Journal Special Issue
Climate Change and Economic Development
The roots of development economics lie in the study of large-scale phenomena such as economic transformation. Climate change, as a global phenomenon, is drawing the attention of the profession back towards studies of transformational processes, including new considerations of adaptation and low-carbon development. From the perspective of low-income countries, the most immediate research need is to obtain an adequate understanding of climate change impacts and their implications for countries’ development strategies. The studies in this special issue of the Review of Development Economics represent the vanguard of research into the impacts of climate change and associated adaptation strategies. The special issue includes case studies for five developing countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. While the details vary by country, each case study adopts a similar interdisciplinary approach. To rigorously assess impacts of climate change for a given country, one must first identify a series of likely climate trajectories. These climate projections are then translated into biophysical outcomes, such as river flow, crop yields and flood probability. Finally, multi-sectoral biophysical impacts must be translated into economic outcomes. To achieve this, a series of interlinked modelling frameworks are brought to bear, including models of climate, water, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, and the economy. This integrated modelling framework provides a complex but decomposable approach to rigorously considering the implications of climate change and identifying potential, robust strategic responses.