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Household coping in war- and peacetime: Cattle sales in Rwanda, 1991-2001

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  • Verpoorten, Marijke

Abstract

The economic literature has given due attention to household coping strategies in peacetime. In contrast, little is known about such strategies in wartime. This paper studies the use of cattle as a buffer stock by Rwandan households during 1991-2001, a period characterized by civil war and genocide. It is found that the probability of selling cattle increases upon the occurrence of both peacetime and wartime covariant adverse income shocks. The peacetime cattle sales are largely explained by shifts in the household asset portfolio. In contrast, in 1994, the year of the genocide, almost half of the cattle sales were motivated by the need to buy food. However, we argue that the effectiveness of this coping strategy was severely reduced due to the wartime conditions. First, during the year of ethnic violence, cattle prices plummeted to less than half of their pre-genocide value. Second, we find that households most targeted in the violence did not sell cattle. We discuss several explanations for this latter finding.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 67-86

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:88:y:2009:i:1:p:67-86

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Keywords: Coping strategies Buffer stock model Cattle Violent conflict Rwanda;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christophe Muller & Marc Vothknecht, 2011. "Group Violence, Ethnic Diversity, and Citizen Participation: Evidence from Indonesia," Research Working Papers 48, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
  2. Maystadt, Jean-Francois & Ecker, Olivier & Mabiso, Athur, 2013. "Extreme weather and civil war in Somalia: Does drought fuel conflict through livestock price shocks?," IFPRI discussion papers 1243, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Simon Lange & Malte Reimers, 2014. "Livestock as an Imperfect Buffer Stock in Poorly Integrated Markets," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 162, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  4. Brück, Tilman & Justino, Patricia & Verwimp, Philip & Avdeenko, Alexandra, 2010. "Identifying Conflict and Violence in Micro-Level Surveys," IZA Discussion Papers 5067, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Marc Rockmore, 2012. "Living Within Conflicts: Risk of Violence and Livelihood Portfolios," HiCN Working Papers 121, Households in Conflict Network.
  6. María Alejandra Arias & Ana María Ibáñez & Andrés Zambrano, 2014. "Agricultural Production Amid Conflict: The Effects of Shocks, Uncertainty, and Governance of Non-State Armed Actors," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011005, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  7. Minoiu, Camelia & Shemyakina, Olga N., 2014. "Armed conflict, household victimization, and child health in Côte d'Ivoire," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 237-255.
  8. Tilman Brück & Patricia Justino & Philip Verwimp & Andrew Tedesco, 2013. "Measuring Conflict Exposure in Micro-Level Surveys," HiCN Working Papers 153, Households in Conflict Network.
  9. Delpierre, Matthieu & Verheyden, Bertrand & Weynants, Stephanie, 2012. "On the interaction between risk-taking and risk-sharing under farm household wealth heterogeneity," 123rd Seminar, February 23-24, 2012, Dublin, Ireland 122556, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  10. Gavrilova, Evelina & Bove, Vincenzo, 2013. "Income and Livelihoods in the War in Afghanistan," MPRA Paper 50545, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Carter, Michael R. & Lybbert, Travis J., 2012. "Consumption versus asset smoothing: testing the implications of poverty trap theory in Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 255-264.
  12. Patricia Justino, 2012. "Nutrition, Governance and Violence: A Framework for the Analysis of Resilience and Vulnerability to Food Insecurity in Contexts of Violent Conflict," HiCN Working Papers 132, Households in Conflict Network.
  13. Jin, Ling & Chen, Kevin Z. & Yu, Bingxin & Huang, Zuhui, 2011. "How prudent are rural households in developing transition economies:," IFPRI discussion papers 1127, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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