Consumption Growth, Household Splits and Civil War

Year: 2008 HiCN Working Paper No. 048

We analyse the effect of civil war on household welfare. Using Burundian panel data for the 1998-2007 period in which we re-interviewed original as well as newly formed households (split-offs), we show that headcount poverty decreased by 3.5 % points when split-off households are taken into account and 1% when splits are left out. Poverty is persistent while prosperity is not, in particular in war-affected areas. We find that 25 war-related deaths or wounded at the village level reduce consumption growth by 13%. We also find that violence afflicted on household members decreases growth whereas membership of rebel groups increases it. Apart from such war-related effects – and controlling for initial levels of consumption – we find that temporarily famine-induced migration and illness decrease growth while good harvests, more split-offs and higher initial levels of education increase it. Good harvests are found to have persistent positive effects on growth. Our results are robust for different household and province fixed effects specifications.