We conduct a disaggregated empirical analysis of the economic effects of desertification, exploiting a novel grid-cell global dataset from 1990 to 2015. Our measure of desertification combines annual variation in precipitation and potential evapotranspiration of the soil. To ensure accuracy, we employed advanced spatial econometric techniques to account for the interdependence between economic development and both time and location. Our results indicate that a one standard deviation increase in desertification is associated with a 0.6% to 0.9% decrease in GDP per capita. Based on these estimates, we have predicted the potential impact of future desertification on economic development, with a particular focus on Africa and Southeast Asia.
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