Environment and Development Economics

Research Article

The impact of climate change on agro-ecological zones: evidence from Africa

Namrata Kalaa1, Pradeep Kurukulasuriyaa2 and Robert Mendelsohna3

a1 Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA. Email: namrata.kala@yale.edu

a2 United Nations Development Program, USA. Email: pradeep.kurukulasuriya@undp.org

a3 Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, USA. Email: robert.mendelsohn@yale.edu


This study predicts the impact of climate change on African agriculture. We use a generalized linear model (GLM) framework to estimate the relationship between the proportion of various Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs) in a district and climate. Using three climate scenarios, we project how climate change will cause AEZs to shift, causing changes in acreage and net revenue per hectare of cropland. Our results predict that Africa will suffer heavy annual welfare losses by 2070–2100, ranging between US$14 billion and US$70 billion, depending on the climate scenario and cropland measure considered.

(Received October 30 2011)

(Revised April 19 2012)

(Accepted May 31 2012)

(Online publication August 10 2012)


  The authors would like to thank Michael Boozer and Rahul Deb for helpful suggestions, and Maarten L. Buis for helpful feedback regarding the Stata command authored by him.