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An Agent-Based Model of Migration and Environmental Shock in Bangladesh
  • Kelsea Best,
  • Jonathan Gilligan,
  • Ao Qu
Kelsea Best
Vanderbilt University Earth and Environmental Sciences

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jonathan Gilligan
Vanderbilt University Earth and Environmental Sciences
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Ao Qu
Vanderbilt University
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One possible human response to climate change and other environmental stresses is migration. However, migration is complex, multi-causal phenomenon, and the complexity of human migration poses a challenge for researchers who aim to study the effects of environmental changes on population mobility. This project aims to understand how changing environmental conditions and livelihood opportunities impact migration decisions in coastal Bangladesh. We are developing an original agent-based model (ABM) that combines stylized environmental change dynamics with livelihood to understand how these dynamics impact migration decisions as well as what feedbacks may exist between them. The ABM uses agents to represent households, which consist of individuals, within a single origin community. At each step of the model, the household assesses the expected utility of different livelihood options within the community for each of its members, including agricultural work on the household’s land (if any), seeking paid employment within the community, and pursuing non-agricultural livelihood activities. After assessing opportunities within the community, households will decide whether or not a household member should seek opportunities outside the community. The model imposes stochastic droughts that impact crop yields. We report preliminary results from this model, comparing simulated migration patterns to empirical observations. Future work will incorporate more complex and psychologically realistic decision-making heuristics, as well as diverse destination locations and the possibility of return migration.