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Genocide and land scarcity: Can Rwandan rural households manage?

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  • Marijke Verpoorten
  • Lode Berlage

Abstract

During the nineties, Rwandan households had to cope with severe shocks of war and genocide. In addition, two major structural problems in Rwanda, land scarcity and declining soil fertility, remain unsolved. How do Rwandan households manage? This is an important question from a development perspective, but also from a security perspective, because uneven development increases the risk of peace collapse. To find an answer to our question, we study welfare gains and losses of a sample of 189 Rwandan rural households over the period 1990-2002. In our sample, many households were severely affected by the genocide. In addition, poverty and inequality increased. Moreover, we observe a lot of income mobility. Only one quarter of the households remained in the same income quintile over time. Especially the households headed by widows and prisoner’s wives moved downward in the income distribution. Households who reduced their dependence on subsistence agriculture moved upward.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2004-15.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2004-15

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Cited by:
  1. Diao, Xinshen & Thurlow, James & Benin, Samuel & Fan, Shenggen, 2012. "Strategies and priorities for African agriculture: Economywide perspectives from country studies," Research reports, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Xinshen Diao, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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