IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Returning Home after Civil War: The Consequences of Forced Displacement for Food Security, Nutrition and Poverty among Burundese Households


  • Philip Verwimp


Civil wars often force people to leave their homes. Displaced populations run higher risk in terms of disease, hunger and death, something that is well-documented. They leave their land, cattle and other assets behind for an uncertain existence in a refugee camp or depend on relatives or friends. But what happens when they return back home? This paper investigates the food security and poverty of formerly displaced persons and their household. Using the 2006 Core Welfare Indicator Survey for Burundi we compare their food intake and their level of expenses with that of their non-displaced neighbours. We test whether it is the duration of displacement that matters for current welfare or the time lapsed since returning. We use log-linear and ordered probit models as well as propensity score matching. We find that the individuals and households who returned home just before the time of the survey are worse off compared to those who returned several years earlier. It takes 8 to 10 years after return before the level of welfare of the displaced converges to that of the non-displaced. The duration of displacement seems not to matter. On average, the formerly displaced have 20% lower expenses per adult equivalent compared to the non-displaced, 15% lower food expenses but only 6 % lower calorie intake, showing that the formerly displaced consume relatively more high calorie products. The formerly displaced also report more children with a smaller size at birth. Despite international, government and NGO assistance, the welfare of recent returnees is lagging seriously behind in comparison with the local non-displaced populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Verwimp, 2012. "Returning Home after Civil War: The Consequences of Forced Displacement for Food Security, Nutrition and Poverty among Burundese Households," Working Papers CEB 12-027, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/129111

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: wp12027
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Verwimp, Philip, 2012. "Undernutrition, subsequent risk of mortality and civil war in Burundi," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 221-231.
    2. Deininger,Klaus W., 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife - micro-level evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3045, The World Bank.
    3. Klaus Deininger, 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife: micro-level evidence from Uganda," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 579-606, October.
    4. Carlos Bozzoli & Tilman Brueck & Tony Muhumuza, 2016. "Activity Choices Of Internally Displaced Persons And Returnees: Quantitative Survey Evidence From Post-War Northern Uganda," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 329-347, October.
    5. Behrman, Jere R, 1988. "Intrahousehold Allocation of Nutrients in Rural India: Are Boys Favored? Do Parents Exhibit Inequality Aversion?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 32-54, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Forced Displacement; Food Security; Nutrition; Poverty; Burundi;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/129111. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Benoit Pauwels). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.