Post-conflict transition in Burundi

Most of the economic literature on the economics of civil war studies the causes and consequences of conflict (Blattman and Miguel, 2010). If understanding the causes of civil war is essential, understanding how to put an end to conflicts is at least as important. Still, economists have for long overlooked the study of conflict resolution mechanisms and post-conflict public economics.

With these gaps in mind, I went on field work in Burundi in 2010. With Professor Philip Verwimp (ULB) and Dr. Olivia D’Aoust (World Bank), we studied the impact of the demobilization program which put an end to a 16 years civil war. We collected a panel data set about the socio-economic conditions of 1,064 households living in 3 provinces heavily affected by the conflict. Many rebels who fought during the 1993-2009 civil war resettled in these provinces after benefiting from large demobilization, reinsertion and reintegration allowances.

Our research studies theoretically and empirically the short-run and long-run impacts of this program on beneficiaries, as well as the spillovers on civilian households. At the time of our survey, political instability and electoral violence were disturbing the first electoral process taking place after the demobilization of all rebel groups. Being the direct witnesses of electoral turmoil encouraged us to study the causes of electoral violence and, in connection with our paper on the demobilization program, to explore the role played by former rebels during the elections (with Andrea Colombo, ULB; and Olivia D’aoust, World Bank).

Olivier Sterck
Senior Research Officer, Refugee Economies Programme
Andrea Colombo
Olivia D’aoust
World Bank
Philip Verwimp