Climate change in Malawi: Household level impacts and adaptations

Aaron Matthew Cook, Purdue University


Using three waves of national representative household level panel data from Malawi, we estimate a structural model to study how households make production decisions in response to climate change. In doing so, we examine two forms of adaptation: 1) adopting improved maize varieties and 2) adjusting input and output quantities. Our results indicate that climate change induces both forms of adaptation, though only the second appears relevant in determining climate change impacts. Accounting for these expected adjustments in input and output mix, we estimate that net household income increases 0.86% for a 1% increase in the historical variability of total growing season precipitation, while income decreases by 2.09% for every 1% increase in the historical variability of monthly precipitation within the growing season. The impacts associated with higher rainfall variability are more favorable for households with greater levels of asset ownership. Specifically, we observe that the extent to which households diversify income sources in response to intra-seasonal rainfall variability depends on asset ownership, suggesting that assets enhance a household's capacity for adaptation to climate change.




Ricker-Gilbert, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics

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