Genocide and land scarcity: Can Rwandan rural households manage?
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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