ADAPT - Assisting Households to Adapt to Climate Change


Context and Objectives

Due to climate change, extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, and floods, are expected to become more frequent and intense. The impact of climate change will be particularly damaging for rural households in developing countries, where much of the population depends on natural resources and where governments often lack the financial and technical means to manage increasing climate risk. There is an urgent need for policy interventions that can help households to adapt and reduce their vulnerability to future events. The Paris climate agreement emphasized the importance of supporting developing countries in this task. It is also a prioritized goal of the German development cooperation. Yet, there is a lack of rigorous impact evaluations testing which adaptation interventions are effective and which are not.

The project aims at evaluating the impact of various adaptation interventions from a household perspective. The research is conducted in Mongolia, which is a prime example of a country that is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events, in particular, harsh winters (called dzud in Mongolian) triggered by extremely cold temperatures and excessive snowfall that cause mass livestock mortality.

The first adaptation intervention is an index-based weather insurance that provides indemnity payments to insured households in the aftermath of an extreme weather event whenever an index measured at a more aggregated geographical level has exceeded or fallen short of a predefined threshold. The second adaptation intervention is the provision of two types of meteorological data to households: daily weather forecasts made available to households via mobile phone and medium-term projections of extreme weather events. Moreover, various informal adaptation strategies will be focused on. Both Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental methods and will be used to establish a valid counterfactual.

The data base is a novel household panel data from western Mongolia spanning the time period before and after an extreme event. At our disposal, we have three waves of a household panel survey collected in 2012, 2013, and 2014 – just before the extreme event of the 2015/16 winter. The project will collect two additional panel waves from the same households in 2019 and 2020, after the extreme event. This unique combination of existing data and weather events makes the Mongolian context ideal for impact evaluations of adaptation interventions.

Research Questions

  • Impact evaluation of index insurance (quasi-experimental methods): Does index insurance help households recover faster from losses caused by an extreme weather event?
  • What are the determinants of purchasing index insurance?
  • Impact evaluation of access to daily weather forecasts (RCT):  Do weather forecast information help households avoid livestock losses?
  • Impact evaluation of access to medium-term projections of extreme events (RCT): Do projections influence households’ use of adaptation strategies?
  • How effective are informal adaptation strategies?
  • What are the long-term consequences of extreme winters on socio-economic outcomes (e.g., child anthropometrics, mental health, nutrition, education, poverty, migration)?


About the team members

Dr. Kati Krähnert, Julian Röckert, Svenja Fluhrer, Morag McDonald, Aleksandra Wojewska (from l.t.r.)


Dr. Kati Krähnert
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Research Department II: Climate Resilience
Working Group Adaptation in Agricultural Systems
Telegraphenberg A62
14473 Potsdam


The Project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), funding code 01LA1804A, under the "Economics of Climate Change" funding priority.