, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 935–968 | Cite as

The Effects of Conflict on Fertility: Evidence From the Genocide in Rwanda

  • Kati KraehnertEmail author
  • Tilman Brück
  • Michele Di Maio
  • Roberto Nisticò


Our study analyzes the fertility effects of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We study the effects of violence on both the duration time to the first birth in the early post-genocide period and on the total number of post-genocide births per woman up to 15 years following the conflict. We use individual-level data from Demographic and Health Surveys, estimating survival and count data models. This article contributes to the literature on the demographic effects of violent conflict by testing two channels through which conflict influences fertility: (1) the type of violence exposure as measured by the death of a child or sibling, and (2) the conflict-induced change in local demographic conditions as captured by the change in the district-level sex ratio. Results indicate the genocide had heterogeneous effects on fertility, depending on the type of violence experienced by the woman, her age cohort, parity, and the time horizon (5, 10, and 15 years after the genocide). There is strong evidence of a child replacement effect. Having experienced the death of a child during the genocide increases both the hazard of having a child in the five years following the genocide and the total number of post-genocide births. Experiencing sibling death during the genocide significantly lowers post-genocide fertility in both the short-run and the long-run. Finally, a reduction in the local sex ratio negatively impacts the hazard of having a child in the five years following the genocide, especially for older women.


Child death Fertility Genocide Rwanda Sex ratio 



We are grateful for helpful comments from three anonymous reviewers, Damien de Walque, Quy-Toan Do, Paul Francis, Kathleen Jennings, Adam Lederer, Marinella Leone, Malte Lierl, Tony Muhumuza, Amber Peterman, Susan Steiner, Håvard Strand, Marijke Verpoorten, Philip Verwimp, and Marc Vothknecht. Uuriintuya Batsaikhan provided excellent research assistance. We are indebted to the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda and, in particular, Augustin Twagirumukiza. The study was funded by the World Bank, with generous support from the Government of Norway. Michele Di Maio gratefully acknowledges the financial support from University Parthenope (Programma di Sostegno alla Ricerca Individuale). The usual disclaimer applies.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kati Kraehnert
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Tilman Brück
    • 3
    • 4
  • Michele Di Maio
    • 5
  • Roberto Nisticò
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)BerlinGermany
  3. 3.ISDC – International Security and Development CenterBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ)GroßbeerenGermany
  5. 5.University of Naples ParthenopeNaplesItaly
  6. 6.University of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  7. 7.CSEFNaplesItaly

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